APRIL 12TH WAS EQUAL PAY DAY AT MICHIGAN TECH
The LWVCC and SWE (Society of Women Engineers) hosted the first annual Equal Pay Day Rally on the campus of Michigan Tech on April 12th, from 11:30 - 12:30. Members from LWV and SWE were raising awareness to the Pay Equity issue, by handing out literature explaining the data behind the wage gap, and frosted cookies with 79% boldly printed, proclaiming the wage disparity in the U.S. Equal Pay Day is a day that symbolizes the extra days women work, on an average to catch up to what the average man earns, the year prior. Red is worn on this day as a symbol of how far women and minorities are "in the red".
The group handed out over 240 decorated cookies, and over 300 flyers! Nationally, according to the American Association of University Women, the data shows that women earn less than men, this difference is called the gender wage gap and that difference is 21 percent. For instance, one year from gradation, women engineers' salaries are only 88 percent of men engineers' (data from "Graduating to a Pay Gap" published by the AAUW).
Paying women 79 cents on the dollar means working families have less money for all the things that families need, and makes it tougher to provide for their family and save for retirement. Women of color have an even larger wage gap. In the long run, these inequities add up to about $16 billion dollars per year, just in Michigan, according to the advocacy group "The National Partnership for Women & Families". The wage gap is a serious issue for economic security of families. Equal pay for equal work is not just a "women's issue", it affects all of us and should be everyone's issue. What can you do? You can urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. What is the Paycheck Fairness Act? According to Lilly Ledbetter, "I've always said, giving women my Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act without the Paycheck Fairness Act is like giving them a nail without the hammer". The Paycheck Fairness Act would provide a much needed update to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, by bringing the law's principles and practices in line with the nation's other civil rights laws. It would help create incentives for employers to follow the law, empower women to negotiate for equal pay, and strengthen federal outreach and enforcement efforts, and deter discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations, and by prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages". You can also advocate for your colleagues, and employees and support better State laws that prevent pay discrimination.
Special thank you to our SWE student helpers, Leah and Sarah and to LWVCC members: Faith Morrison, Rhianna, Mary, Carol, Kristine, Ellen, Mary Jane, Kathy, and to you for supporting the important work that we do in promoting Equal Pay awareness. Please read Faith's editorial in the Daily Mining Gazette on 4-9-16, Michigan Tech Today article on 4-7-16, and news article in the Daily Mining Gazette on 4-13-16 and watch TV 6 and TV 10 for media coverage of the event on 4-12.