Equal Pay for Equal Work


The story is this. My great-grandmother taught at the local community college. She found out a newly hired male instructor was making more money than her despite her seniority. When she confronted her supervisor, she was told, "Now, Mrs. Allen, he has a family to support."

She quit.

Today is Equal Pay Day. Why is it today? Because this is how long a woman has to work into 2013 to earn what a man in the same position earned in 2012. 

I could wax poetic about the economic challenges women face. I could tell you that women already face a precarious economic situation made even more dangerous by the current state of our economy. 

I could cite statistics and studies.

But here's the truth:

Being paid less for the same work is unfair. And being treated unfairly because of something you cannot control is crazy-making. It is the moment I'm sure my great-grandmother had when she confronted her supervisor. There was an unfair situation and she had done nothing wrong. Surely, once she had explained the situation would be rectified. Instead, she was told that was not the case. I'm sure she felt a little bit crazy. You think you live in one universe. Only to find - like Alice in Wonderland - that everything is upside down and inside out. 

That's not what we're taught as children - all of us no matter our gender. We're taught when something is unfair, when something is wrong, we need to tell someone and it will get fixed. 

Instead, we learn: Yes, it is unfair that we are not getting paid equally for the same work. Yes, the situation is out and in the open and everyone is aware of it. 

But no, we're not going to doing anything about it. 

That has to end. It is 2013 and I should not earn SEVENTY-SEVEN CENTS to a man's dollar in the state of Kentucky. It is absurd. It is antiquated. 

It is unfair. 

What Can You Do? A Call to Action:
1.  Contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them you support the Paycheck Fairness Act. 
Kentucky's U.S. Senators and Representatives of the 113th Congress

2.  Write an Op-ed or a Letter to the Editor.
Sample Op-Ed
Sample Letter to the Editor

3.  Ask your Mayor/Commissioner,  to proclaim April 9th as Pay Equity Day in your town.
Sample Proclamation

4. Additional suggested activities to host in your community.
Activity Suggestions for Pay Equity Day

5.  If you are a business owner, learn how you can analyize your wage-setting policies and establish fair and consistent policies for all. 
Employer Pay Equity Self-Audit

6.  Stand up for yourself. 
Tips for Wage and Salary Negotiations