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On Tuesday, April 17, AAUW marked Equal Pay Day — the symbolic day when women’s earnings finally catch up to what men made last year — with a patio-style Unhappy Hour outside our national office.

Featuring a “secret salary” garden (see below) and a pep talk from AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz, the event — which drew more than 150 guests — was a great success. See for yourself!

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As you know, Tuesday, April 22, is Equal Pay Day, the annual symbolic day on which women’s average wages catch up to men’s from the previous year. For the average woman’s salary to equal that of a man’s in 2007, she would have had to work from Jan. 1, 2007, until April 22, 2008. See what the pay gap for college-educated women is in your state.

AAUW events across the country will mark Equal Pay Day to educate others about pay discrimination:

  • AAUW members in Escabana, Michigan, will sell cookies with a bite out of them representing the 23 percent women are underpaid.
  • The AAUW Vero Beach (FL) Branch will hold a bake sale where men will pay full price and women will receive a 23 percent discount.
  • The AAUW Murfreesboro (TN) Branch will hand out Pay Day candy bars at Middle Tennessee State University.
  • AAUW members in Salem, Oregon, will hold an “unhappy hour” where women will receive a 23 percent discount.
  • AAUW members across the country will wear red to represent the way the pay gap puts women “in the red.”
  • Workshops held on college campuses will teach women to better negotiate for quality jobs and pay.
  • Rallies will be held at city halls and state houses across the country, including in Brevard, North Carolina, where legislators will proclaim April 22, 2008, Equal Pay Day, and supporters will advocate for effective pay equity legislation.

The U.S. Senate will recognize Equal Pay Day by voting Wednesday on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (H.R. 2831). The legislation was introduced in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in the Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company case, which severely limits the ability of victims of pay discrimination to have their day in court.

Call your senators today to urge them to vote in support of the bill and send a strong signal to your senators that, in honor of Equal Pay Day, pay discrimination will not be tolerated. Then set up and send an e-card to your friends and family with the call information as well.

AAUW and our coalition partners will hold a national press conference this Wednesday on Capitol Hill, where we will urge our senators to take action to reverse the Ledbetter v. Goodyear decision and to realize the decades-old promise of equal pay for equal work. Several members of Congress are scheduled to attend, as are Lilly Ledbetter and members of the AAUW staff.

Pay equity is a simple matter of justice. Equal pay for equal work — makes sense, right? We know that women deserve a level playing field. Equal Pay Day and pay equity legislation aim to ensure that they also receive a level paying field.

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