Yesterday was Equal Pay Day, a day designated to shine a spotlight on the fact that there is still a wage gap between men and women, based entirely on differences in gender. But setting aside a day to talk about the wage gap and Instagram cute, supportive pictures isn’t enough. We have to DO something about it. Enough talk, more action. Here are a few ways that we can work to close the wage gap:
Raise Minimum Wage
Women comprise a disproportionate share of low wage-earners. According to Pew Research, women make up 62% of individuals who earn minimum wage or less. Raising the minimum wage would help women earn a decent wage and better support their families. After all, according to the Center for American Progress, nearly two thirds of mothers are primary or co-breadwinners for their families. You may not support feminism and equality, but I am willing to bet that you wouldn’t want to let adorable little babies go hungry.
Support Pay Transparency
Discussing salaries with co-workers is a societal taboo. However, if men and women were encouraged to discuss their pay rate, instances of unfair pay and discriminatory practices are able to be surfaced and dealt with. No employer is going to admit to pay discrimination unless they are held accountable. Encouraging pay transparency opens the door to wage equality.
You are your biggest ally. When you educate yourself about legislation that protects you from unfair pay, such as the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, or services designed to protect and fight for your rights, you can arm yourself against discriminatory workplace practices.
Pass National Paid Family Leave Insurance Programs
Caregiving responsibilities most often fall on the woman’s shoulders. Thus, working women are likely to either leave the job market or become the target of workplace discrimination and denied job opportunities based on the assumption that she may one day bare a child.
It is estimated that nearly 10% of the wage gap is due to women spending less time in the workplace as the result of disporportionate childcare responsibilities.
By establishing a Family Leave Insurance Program, we can protect women and their families from unfair workplace practices. Paid leave has been proven to shorten time away from work and increases the likelihood that a woman will return to the job market. Mommas need protection too!
We tend to be all talk and no action. It’s time to put our money where our mouth is, and other cliches, and bring about some positive change.