Equal Pay for Equal Work: If Not Now, When?

I don’t carry around a cell phone the size of my shoe anymore. My computer no longer requires a room of its own, complete with central air-conditioning. I don’t have to wear gut numbing pantyhose. Yeah, so much has improved for me and my posse. Except. Why don’t my female friends and I earn as much as the next guy?

Equal pay for equal work. Why, people? Why can’t we get this right?

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Did you read the editorial written by Lesley Jane Seymour in the April issue of More magazine. I’ve excerpted part of it below. For the full editorial, click here.

From Ms. Seymour: “So I’ve come up with a crazy scheme to have a million of us each move the needle a tiny bit at a time until we create a woman-quake. My plan borrows from the Department of Homeland Security’s ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign, which asks each of us to report suspicious behavior. My version: What if every female manager in America hired her next female employee at a salary equal to that of the men doing the same job? What if every woman investor decided to back women-led start-ups, which are grossly underfunded? What if every woman consumer asked companies with few women, or none, among their board members and/or executives why they maintain this disparity when statistics show that diversity at the top leads to increased revenue?

I started my own private ground war last month by declining to buy a ticket to a digital conference that offered an egregious speaker ratio of one female to every 20 males. ‘I am passing this year,’ I wrote in reply to the email solicitation the organizers sent me, ‘because there are too few females on your panels—and zero women among your keynote speakers. I really wouldn’t feel comfortable buying a ticket’—which, by the way, cost hundreds of dollars—’until you have corrected this problem.’ I’ve also done the consciousness-raising math with a couple of big institutions I deal with, pointing out the number of women versus men in various contexts. In a small but, to me, significant victory, one official I contacted about this kind of gender bias said he felt sheepish that he and his colleagues had ‘never thought of it that way.’

What private war could you wage?”

Seymour talk of a woman-quake…Working together, women forcing change that translates into pay parity…is a novel idea. And I think she is onto something. It’s been decades, and no amount of legislation has leveled the salary playing field for women. Have we caught up? Yes. Are we at parity? No.

So let’s take this into our own hands. Let’s force the change. Are you a manager, my friend? Then the next time you hire a female do so at an equal salary to that of men doing the same job. Are you an investor, my friend? Back women-led startups with sound business plans. Are you a consumer, my friend? Buy goods and services from companies that practice pay parity. 

Market forces can force change. Let’s start a woman-quake.

 

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2 Responses to Equal Pay for Equal Work: If Not Now, When?

  1. Good points, Darlene. I’m so glad that you posted this.

  2. I love that term “woman-quake” and although I can’t impact it because I don’t work, I certainly support the movement.

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