Posts Tagged ‘pay gap’

face_of_pay_equity_150x225The new year may be right around the corner, but it will take an extra four months for women’s earnings to catch up to men’s earnings from the year before. The symbolic day when women’s earnings finally make up the 23 percent difference is known as Equal Pay Day. As usual, AAUW will host special events and distribute resources to help celebrate the work that has been done and that still needs to be done to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work.

It is never too early to start preparing for Equal Pay Day — April 9, 2013. This year will be especially important, as 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.

What will your state or branch do to observe Equal Pay Day? AAUW has updated our Pay Equity Resource Kit with suggested ideas for action, facts and figures about pay equity, the latest AAUW research, and step-by-step instructions for planning activities. Here is just a sampling of what the resource kit can help you accomplish:

  • Organize reading and discussion sessions. Lilly Ledbetter’s book, Grace and Grit, would make a great selection!
  • Issue a press release for Equal Pay Day. A sample press release is included in the resource kit.
  • Hold in-district meetings with your members of Congress. The resource kit walks you through the process of requesting a meeting, preparing for that meeting, and following up with members of Congress and their staff afterward.
  • Complete a workplace pay audit for your office, and encourage branch and state members to do the same.
  • Organize a petition to show that there is a high level of popular support for pay equity legislation.
  • Conduct a public information campaign. You can raise awareness about the need for legislation to end discrimination against women in the labor market.
  • Ask your members of Congress and state legislators to sign a fair pay pledge. The resource kit includes sample pledges.

Download the complete AAUW Pay Equity Resource Kit today to get started! You can also request pay equity stickers and other materials by e-mailing advocacy@aauw.org.

Read Full Post »

My friends and I have a lot in common, but there is one word that often leads to abrupt disagreements: the f-word. No matter when I say it or to whom, the frequent response is a shudder of the shoulders. Like the other f-word, the sound of the word “feminist” sends chills down others’ spines.

Bethany Imondi spoke about student loans and the pay gap at an AAUW panel in November.

Negative stereotypes of feminists — like bra burning, unshaven underarms, and man hating — perpetuate false assumptions and distract from the true goals of the feminist movement. At its core, feminism simply strives to establish equal opportunities for women, and yet many women today hesitate and feel embarrassed to classify themselves as feminists.

Despite women’s significant gains over the years, including the recent news that a record number of women will serve in the next Congress, other glaring issues of inequity remain. Women may outnumber men in higher education and earn more degrees than ever, but women still earn less than their male peers earn — a significant pay gap exists for women just a year after college graduation. Climbing the corporate ladder remains difficult for women, and positions of leadership continue to be dominated by men.

These dismal facts should be enough to motivate all women to embrace the progressive ideals of feminism. Any person who believes that women deserve equal opportunities is a feminist. Bra burning is not a prerequisite; voting for pro-women’s rights candidates, volunteering at a local women’s shelter, or working to protect women from sexual assault are just a few examples of advocacy on behalf of women’s equality.

Many women my age seem ashamed or embarrassed to identify as feminists when they should be embracing their beliefs. The challenge today lies in convincing women, particularly young women, that there is more to feminism than the backlash of stereotypes that emerged after the activism of the 1960s. In 2012, gender discrimination still exists. It is imperative that today’s generation of women continue the fight their mothers and grandmothers initiated to shatter the glass ceiling. It might not be the sexiest term, but the f-word is one all women should proudly claim, not only to transform the stereotypes but also to promote a more promising future for women of all ages.

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Bethany Imondi.

Read Full Post »

Last week, AAUW hosted a panel discussion at our national office on our groundbreaking research report Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation. In addition to a live audience, the panel reached viewers at more than 60 watch parties across the nation during the live webcast. These events were hosted by AAUW student organizations, college and university women’s studies departments, groups of students and faculty on AAUW college/university partner member campuses, AAUW branches, and individuals interested in the report. Students at these watch parties also joined the discussion by tweeting questions for panelists using the hash tag #GapAndGown.

George Mason University students watched the live webcast of AAUW’s Graduating to a Pay Gap panel discussion.

The Women and Gender Studies Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, hosted a watch party on campus for 11 attendees, including undergraduate students, graduate students, and members of George Mason’s Feminist Student Organization. Marisa Allison, graduate assistant for the Women and Gender Studies Center and organizer of the watch party, said students were shocked and “appropriately distressed” by the findings of the research report because they now know that “the gender wage gap is something that will affect them as soon as they graduate.” Students at the watch party found the panelists’ suggestions for what students could do (like negotiate salaries) to combat the effects of the wage gap as they move into the job market to be particularly interesting and useful. Other students were happy to have the report as a resource “to turn to when others argue with them about the existence of the wage gap.”

Students at the University of California, Merced’s watch party found the report insightful and eye-opening, as many of them did not know that the pay gap exists. Amanda Lee, a student attendee, said, “Before this event, I believed that when I’m done with my schooling, I would receive a good paying salary from the career I want.” But because of the research, Lee realized that she might be affected by “a pay gap that has nothing to do with my abilities or skill.”

We hope that other campuses and students join George Mason and UC Merced in using

George Mason University’s Women and Gender Studies Center used flyers to promote their watch party.

Graduating to a Pay Gap to spark conversation about fair pay. The report and panel discussion can also be used to encourage women students to take initiative to curb the effects of the pay gap on recent graduates. Here are a few suggestions for ways to get out the information from the report on campus.

  • Host a watch party of the panel discussion webcast, which is available online.
  • Write an op-ed or letter to the editor for your student or local newspaper.
  • Use the research report in class.
  • Start conversations with friends.
  • Use the report for your next book club pick.
  • Share information on Facebook and Twitter.

If you were not able to join us for the live webcast, you can watch the recording online.

This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Intern Courtney Douglas.

Read Full Post »

On November 15, AAUW held a panel discussion on our groundbreaking new report, Graduating to a Pay Gap. In addition to an audience of more than 60 attendees at our national office in Washington, D.C., the panel was broadcast online, including 60 AAUW watch parties held across the country. Graduating to a Pay Gap found that women one year out of college are paid less than their male peers to the tune of only 82 cents to the dollar — an inequity that makes it more difficult for young women graduates to pay off their student loans.

The panel was moderated by Jenna Johnson, an education reporter for the Washington Post, and panelists included Avis Jones-DeWeever, National Council of Negro Women executive director; Catherine Hill,AAUW director of research and report co-author; Christianne Corbett, AAUW senior researcher and report co-author; Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid and Fast Web; Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy and government relations; and Bethany Imondi, AAUW National Student Advisory Council member and Georgetown University student.

The panel concluded with a lively, 30-minute question-and-answer session with queries gathered via phone, e-mail, and Twitter — using the hashtag #GapandGown — and from the live audience. Attendees asked a number of thoughtful questions on topics such as salary negotiation skills; women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and fair pay legislation. We were not able to fully address all of the great questions asked during the event, so we wanted to cover a few more points in depth for our AAUW Dialog readers. For more information, you can download the full report for free from our website.

How does the pay gap affect different races and ethnicities? Several people asked us about the pay gap among women and men of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. In the labor force as a whole, women and men who are black or Hispanic are typically paid less than their white or Asian American peers. Black and Hispanic women are paid less than their male counterparts, but the gender gap is narrower within these racial and ethnic groups than it is among whites or Asian Americans. In our dataset of college graduates working full time one year after graduation, the pay gap was still evident within races and ethnicities. Among black, Hispanic, and white workers, men were paid more than their female counterparts in the same racial or ethnic group just one year out of college. Further research is needed to fully understand how race, ethnicity, and gender interact.

How does the pay gap affect earnings over a lifetime? The pay gap adds up to a lot of money over a lifetime. According to one estimate, college-educated women working full time are paid more than half a million dollars less than their male peers over the course of their careers.

So what can we do?

  • Increase transparency in pay systems and make salary ranges for specific job titles available to all employees to allow workers to put their wages in context.
  • Conduct internal pay equity studies and take steps to address any gender disparities.
  • Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3220/H.R. 1519).

Did you participate in a watch party? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you haven’t yet, check out the webcast of the event.

This post was written by AAUW Director of Research Catherine Hill.

Read Full Post »

The AAUW Action Fund’s It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard voter education and turnout campaign represents an unprecedented investment in making women’s voices heard in the 2012 election. Follow us on Twitter and on Tumblr for the latest updates, and check out our biweekly Campaign Update for news, resources, and ideas.

AAUW is braced to talk about some scary stuff during Halloween week, and we dare you to join us. From 1 to 2 p.m. EDT October 29–31, the Fair Pay Coalition, which is chaired by AAUW, will host a Twitter campaign to raise awareness about the need to close the gender wage gap. We’ll use the hashtag #RU4FairPay to ask candidates and members of Congress about their support for legislation to address the wage gap and to make fair pay a trending topic on Twitter.

This Twitter campaign is timed to hit candidates and voters in the final days before the election —because the statistics in our recent research report have us a little spooked. AAUW’s Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation found that just one year out of college, women are paid 82 cents, on average, for every dollar paid to their male peers. Among all full-time workers, women are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men — a figure that hasn’t budged in 10 years. The persistent pay gap suggests that educational achievement alone will not fix the problem.

This Twitter effort is part of AAUW’s nonpartisan get-out-the-vote campaign, It’s My Vote: I Will Be Heard. The nationwide effort has informed women about the critical issues at stake in the 2012 election, including the gender wage gap.

Participation in the #RU4FairPay campaign is easy, even if you aren’t on Twitter. Here’s what you do:

  1. Post this blog to Facebook!
  2. Get in the holiday spirit by sending an equal pay e-card. Download and share via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.
  3. Use this tweet to target current senators, representatives, and candidates in some marquee races between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. EDT each day Monday, October 29, through Wednesday, October 31:

Dear [insert Twitter handle(s)]: We’re trick-or-treating 4 #fairpay this Halloween. #RU4fairpay? http://bit.ly/RuKBjn

You’ll find us tweeting at @AAUWPolicy and @AAUWActionFund. Finally, here is a list of Twitter handles for members of Congress and candidates. This Halloween, don’t say boo. Say #RU4FairPay?

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@LisaMurkowski)

Richard Carmona (@CarmonaforAZ) and Rep. Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake)

Linda McMahon (@Linda_McMahon) and Rep. Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT)

Sen. Tom Carper (@SenatorCarper) and Keith Spanarelli (@KeithSpanarelli)

Sen. Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) and Rep. Connie Mack (@RepConnieMack)

Rep. Mazie Hirono (@MazieHirono) and Gov. Linda Lingle (@Lingle2012)

Sen. Mark Kirk (@SenatorKirk)

Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins)

Sen. Scott Brown (@USSenScottBrown) and Elizabeth Warren (@ElizabethforMA)

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (@PeteHoekstra) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@Stabenow)

Rep. Todd Akin (@ToddAkin) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (@ClaireMC)

Rep. Denny Rehberg (@DennyRehberg) and Sen. Jon Tester (@JonTester)

Gov. Bob Kerrey (@KerreyBob) and state Rep. Deb Fischer (@DebFischer2012)

Rep. Shelly Berkley (@RepBerkley) and Sen. Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller)

Rep. Martin Heinrich (@Heinrich4NM) and Rep. Heather Wilson (@Heather4Senate)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) and Wendy Long (@WendyLongforNY)

Heidi Heitkamp (@Heidi4ND) and Rep. Rick Berg (@RepRickBerg)

Sen. Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) and Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio)

Sen. George Allen (@GeorgeAllenVA), Gov. Tim Kaine (@TimKaine), and Sen. Mark Warner (@MarkWarner)

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (@TammyBaldwinWI) and Gov. Tommy Thompson (@TommyforWI)

This post was written by AAUW Political Media Coordinator Elizabeth Owens.

Read Full Post »

On October 9, I had the honor of hearing Lilly Ledbetter speak on my campus, St. Cloud State University. Ledbetter’s story is an inspiring one. After 19 years of working at Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Alabama as a production manager, a note was slipped into her mailbox revealing a startling pay gap between her and three male colleagues in the same position. Despite knowing that taking the corporation to court would be a long, uphill battle that would likely not lead to the compensation she was owed, she sued Goodyear. “It wasn’t about me anymore,” she said. “It was about my daughter, my granddaughter, and the women and families in this nation.” Her case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in 2007, after nine years of fighting, she received the final verdict. She lost because of an unreasonably short statute of limitations that would have required her to file suit years before she even knew she was being paid unfairly.

But her story did not end there. Ledbetter became the namesake for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was the first bill signed into law by President Obama in 2009. The bill righted the wrong of the Supreme Court decision by allowing the statute of limitations to reset with every discriminatory paycheck.

As I sat in the audience listening to this strong woman share her story, two things happened to me. First, I was humbled by how much women in the past have achieved to guarantee me certain rights. Second, I was inspired to do the same for future generations of women. I think that my generation often does not take the time to learn about the influential women in our country’s history. I feel that young women believe the struggles of the past are over, when in fact they are far from complete. Even today, women’s median earnings are still only 77 percent of men’s, which accounts for huge losses in income, retirement savings, and Social Security benefits over a lifetime of work. But Ledbetter’s speech appeared to raise students’ awareness. Through the question-and-answer session following the speech, you could hear people expressing their outrage at what happened to her and their demand to change what is still occurring today.

St. Cloud State University has been making great strides to bring inspiring programming to young women. At the SCSU Women’s Center, where I work, we strive to empower women, increase awareness, and develop programming to support those principles on our campus. Our mission statement speaks to these ideals: “With passion and purpose to end sexist oppression, the Women’s Center promotes a safe, inclusive, and engaged community through advocacy, education, alliance-building, and women’s leadership.”

My hope is that by bringing speakers like Ledbetter to campus, our generation will have a greater appreciation for past struggles and those who fought them. I also hope that when someone from my generation is faced with a situation where she has to decide whether to stand up for herself, she will think like Ledbetter: “I knew that the only choice I had was to stand up for myself and do what was right. I understood the risk I was taking. It would surely be the hardest fight of my life, and there were no guarantees I’d win. … But as I ruminated, I realized I had no other choice.”

This post was written by Bre Moulder, a St. Cloud State University sophomore majoring in political science and women’s studies. St. Cloud State University is an AAUW college/university partner member.

Read Full Post »

On October 24, AAUW will release a new report, Graduating to a Pay Gap. The following is the fourth installment of Gap and Gown, a new blog series inspired by the forthcoming research.

Now that fair pay is in the headlines again thanks to this week’s presidential debate, we decided to dig up footage from an April 11, 2011, panel discussion called New Voices for Pay Equity. AAUW invited industry leaders to come to Washington, D.C., to discuss the problem. One of the first questions posed after the presentation was, How do we get men to care?

Hear the responses from John Curtis, director of research and public policy at the American Association of University Professors, and San Diego State University Professor Bey-Ling Sha, who injected a bit of humor into the discussion.

Then be sure to download AAUW’s newest research on the topic next week. The new report, Graduating to a Pay Gap, is an update of sorts to the 2007 AAUW report Behind the Pay Gap, which found that just one year after college graduation, women are paid only 80 percent of what their male counterparts are paid. The new report will offer concrete steps on how to address this persistent problem, talk about its impact on women with college loans, and reveal the latest salary data for this population.

Read Full Post »

On October 24, AAUW will release a new report, Graduating to a Pay Gap. The following is the second installment of Gap and Gown, a new blog series inspired by the forthcoming research.

It is a tough pill to swallow: I have a degree from a four-year university, yet as a woman who works full time, I probably earn substantially less than my male counterparts. For women of color, the pay gap widens — both my gender and my race contribute to a lower probable salary. I cannot help but think of what the pay gap will mean for me and the amount of money that I will not accumulate over the course of my career.

I graduated in 2009, which was not an opportune time to finish an undergraduate program. Several months prior to commencement, I knew I had to avoid the many job rejections that come with the rising national unemployment rate. Instead of jumping into the fray of job seekers, I decided to join a national service program, AmeriCorps. That summer, I moved to Philadelphia to become a tutor, mentor, and community service volunteer. After successfully completing more than 1,700 hours of community service, I moved back home to Alexandria, Virginia, in summer 2010.

It was then that I began my job search, with much apprehension — I knew I would be competing with a new graduating class. I leveraged my networking skills and landed a job as an administrative assistant with a starting salary that was lower than I had hoped for. I felt that I did not know how to negotiate my salary, and although I did some research, I was not confident enough to ask for more.

Even as I signed my offer letter, I knew that my starting salary was contributing to the sad statistic that women, on average, make only 80 percent of what their male counterparts make one year out of college.

Since that experience, I’ve learned my value. Now that I am trying to start my own business, I am learning that it is important, especially as a woman, to not sell myself short. I find myself urging my female friends to aim high, to expect more from themselves and their employers, and to negotiate their salaries to match their value.

The gender wage gap issue isn’t only about earning another 20 cents on the dollar or having a salary that is equitable to that of a man. The issue is my value. As a woman at the start of her career, I find it upsetting that I might not be paid fairly for doing similar work with the same qualifications.

I value myself and the women of my generation, and I hope that we continue to fight for equal pay.

This post was written by former AAUW Media Relations Intern Ijeoma Nwatu. She is a blogger and traveler who writes about her professional journey, business, and female entrepreneurship.


Read Full Post »

Hanna Rosin’s new book, The End of Men, came out yesterday. While I haven’t yet read it, I saw her recent New York Times Magazine cover story and watched a couple of her Daily Beast videos. Rosin’s overall message is that today’s economy favors women over men. While the three Alabama wives Rosin follows in the New York Times Magazine story happen to earn more than their husbands, that situation doesn’t reflect most American women’s experiences.

Today — one day after the release of Rosin’s book — the U.S. Census Bureau released new data that show that in 2011, a typical woman working full time, year-round earned 77 cents for every dollar a typical man earned — the same gap reported for 2010. One might hypothesize, then, that the phenomenon Rosin describes can be explained by the fact that more men than women are unemployed. But as of July, the unemployment rate for men was only slightly higher, at 8.4 percent, than the 8.1 percent unemployment rate for women.

The women Rosin describes are especially unusual among Alabama residents since it is one of the worst states in the country for gender pay equity. As shown in AAUW’s one-stop guide, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, Alabama ranked 40th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of equal pay in 2010. The Simple Truth’s state-by-state rankings will be updated to reflect the 2011 numbers when the Census Bureau releases the state data later this month.

Let’s take a closer look at the facts reported by the Census Bureau earlier today.

In the United States in 2011,

  • Median annual earnings for women working full-time, year-round were $37,118, compared with $48,202 for men;
  • 14.6 percent of women were living in poverty, compared with 10.9 percent of men; and
  • more than 7.8 million women lived in extreme poverty, which is defined as income at or below 50 percent of the poverty level, compared with 5.3 million men.

As these statistics make clear, even in 2011, women continued to earn less than men and experienced higher rates of poverty.

I guess what’s most troublesome about Rosin’s message is that it suggests that if women succeed in the labor force, that will spell the end of men. Women are far from out-earning men, and it’s much more common for a man to earn more than his wife than the opposite. Yet articles like Rosin’s suggest that women are displacing men. At AAUW, we’re not looking to engage in a battle of the sexes. Our goal is for men and women to be equally capable of achieving economic security for themselves and their families. In 2011, women earned just 77 percent of what men earned. We’ve still got a long way to go.

Read Full Post »

The war on women is everywhere these days. We’ve seen a parade of Mad Men-era ideas that have shocked women down to our toes, and the pay-gap issue has not escaped such ridiculousness. Yesterday, the Senate voted along party lines to block the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have taken real steps to get employers to follow the law and deter pay discrimination before it even starts. But the senators who opposed the bill didn’t stop the fight for equal pay — all they did was create a lot of mad women!

Lilly Ledbetter and AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz meet with senior White House staff.

I had the privilege of lobbying yesterday alongside fair-pay icon Lilly Ledbetter, who flew up from her home in Alabama to campaign for the bill. She and I spent the whole day talking with White House staff, members of Congress, and the press about the importance of fair pay to women and our economy. Over and over, we told legislators that the pay gap is real and has real consequences. A woman is far more likely than a man to spend her golden years in poverty, in part because the pay gap starts as soon as she throws her graduation cap in the air. AAUW’s research has shown that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues earn — even when they have the same major and work in the same field. Our research found that the gender pay gap shows up in 107 out of 111 occupations regardless of education level — and women get the short end of the stick.

From left: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), and Lilly Ledbetter speak at a Senate press conference

The Paycheck Fairness Act could address this, and that’s what’s so frustrating about yesterday’s vote. Not only do women deserve equal pay for equal work, they need equal pay to support themselves and their families. When women are paid unequally, everyone suffers.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to keep fighting. I’m going to fight until every woman is treated equally and until she is paid according to her worth rather than outdated stereotypes.

It’s time for our paychecks and our national policies to catch up to the 21st century and to leave the nostalgia to television. Unequal pay has no place in today’s world.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »