When we started our careers, we knew we weren’t being paid the same as our male counterparts. We didn’t know exactly how much they were paid, but we knew it was more. We knew we had the same education, often more. We had the same job, did the same work. We worked hard, stayed late, tried to do more work to get noticed as if that would garner more pay, more value, more worth in the minds of male leadership. We were overlooked. Our ideas were often undermined, only for a male peer to later take credit for them. We wanted to be part of their team, but every time we got close, we were punished with reminders that we didn’t belong. Inappropriate jokes and sexist comments were slaps to our faces. We were told we needed to work longer hours, so we went to client dinners, events and hung out with the guys, only to experience sexual innuendo, a creeping hand on the thigh under the table or we were pinned against the wall on the way back from the ladies room. But, my girlfriends and I kept silent, thinking the payoff was coming. It didn’t. That was over 30 years ago.
Pay inequity was wrong during my generation, prior generations, and it is wrong during yours. When women continue to be slapped down in their struggle to reap the same rewards and benefits, to have the same financial power, progress on other key issues are thwarted as well.
In The Gender Wage Gap Is A Symptom We Cannot Ignore Debra Ness, President at National Partnership for Women and Families makes some compelling points. Namely, "if the overall gender wage gap were closed, a typical woman who holds a full-time, year-round job would have enough money for 1.5 more years of food, seven more months of mortgage and utilities payments, 11 more months of rent, 15 more months of child care, 1.2 additional years of tuition and fees at a four-year public university, the full cost of tuition and fees for a two-year community college, or up to 8.7 additional years of birth control every year.” These numbers are staggering.
This isn’t going away without the action of many. It's not going away without your action, or mine. Your single voice matters. Talk. Share. Tweet. Get involved. #EqualPayDay needs to be every day. Pass it along.