March 31st, 2020 is National Equal Pay Day. It marks the day up until which women would have to work to earn what a white man did in 2019. Although women are almost half of the workforce, the pay gap currently sits at roughly 80%, meaning that women are earning 80cents to the dollar compared to men. This gap ranges based on many factors including race, education, parenthood, and industry. Fifteen years ago the wage gap was just 49 percent. It is certainly closing, but there is still significant change needed. To raise awareness about how significant the pay gap still is, we ran a social media project where we shared 20 facts about the wage gap in honor of the 20 cents that women are still deprived of.
The facts shared on our social media are below:
In 2018, the state with the largest gender pay gap was Louisiana, which had a pay ratio of 70%.
In 2018, the state with the smallest gender pay gap was California, which had a pay ratio of 88%.
The gender pay gap is the result of many situational factors, including race and ethnicity.
Asian women experience the smallest gender pay gap, with a pay ratio of 90% compared to a white man’s earnings.
Hispanic women face the largest gender pay gap with a pay ratio of just 54 cents to every dollar earned by a white man.
The pay gap ratio breakdown for all other races/ethnicities is:
White women- 79%
Black Women- 62%
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander Women- 61%
American Indian or Alaska Native Women- 57%
At the current rate of change, women will not reach pay parity until 2059.
This rate of change is even slower for women of color. Black women will not see parity until 2130 and Hispanic women will not see parity until 2224.
The gender pay gap occurs across almost all occupations and industries.
Male dominated industries tend to have higher wages than industries and occupations that are mostly made of female workers.
There are more than 5x as many women as men working in occupations with poverty-level wages.
The largest pay gap ratio occurs in legal occupations, in which men earn an average of $126, 800 to a woman’s $69,361.
Few occupational fields have a pay gap that favors women, including receptionist and office clerk positions and food preparation services.
Wage gaps tend to be greater for those with more advanced degrees. Women with MBAs face the largest uncontrolled pay gaps.
By late career, 8% of men rise to executive level positions, compared to 3% of women. This is called the opportunity gap.
Mothers working full time are paid 71% as much as fathers. This is known as the “motherhood penalty.”
The motherhood penalty often increasers per child.
Fathers, in contrast, often receive higher wages after having a child. This is known as the “fatherhood bonus.”
Women who learn to negotiate their salaries can earn thousands in wages that they would have missed out, closing the gap for themselves.
Closing the wage gap is not just a women’s issue. It takes all genders to promote equal pay for equal work.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. You’re not going to get in trouble for reporting something. The herd at Nichols is your family and there are many people on this campus that you can trust to assure that the correct actions are taken. If the perpetrator is threatening you in any way for attempting to speak out, that’s more the reason to do so for your and everyone else’s safety. By speaking up, you may be saving someone else from the same tragedy.
See something, say something. If you or another see something happen, do something. If an encounter or incident isn’t sitting right with you or making you uncomfortable. The person in that situation probably feels the same way.
They are there to support you. No matter what happened or what you are reporting, the system is in place to help you find a resolution to what happened to you.
Yes, the process is scary. It’s nerve-wracking to the bones. But is so rewarding to find justice for yourself. The peace of knowing that action is being taken feels like a weight lifted off your shoulders.
The process is confidential. Everything you say stays in that room. Depending on the path you take, you may need to repeat your story over again. While this may seem scary, the people involved are under an oath to keep your story safe.
The process is long and draining, but you can get through it. In order to assure that corrective action is taken per your needs, you need to trust the people around you even if you just want it to be done and over with.
You have the option to do what feels right for you. Whether you choose to take the report as far as the police or just to the school, you are safe. Whatever choice you make, the system is in place to protect you and your decision.
It’s okay to process your emotions and how you feel about what happened. If you’re struggling to feel better, even after the process has completed. Reach out to a friend, family or staff member. There are resources on campus, and you are not alone. And if you ever feel the need, you can go back and review your case any time.
Down the road you may look back and wish you had done something differently. It’s OKAY to feel this way. We all process our emotions differently and looking back on it a couple years down the road you may have a different perspective on what happened. What’s important is that you do what you feel is right for you in that moment.
After an extremely successful and impactful photo project for International Women’s Day last year, we decided to continue with a creative project this year. While looking for the inspiration for the project, we kept hearing students sharing stories about on and off campus experiences of being verbally harassed. Some of the incidents were being done by strangers, and some by peers. In order to share the impacts of how verbal harassment, cat calling, and slut shaming impacts the emotional and physical safety of the victims, the IWL put together a video of our students sharing their thoughts.
During the research that went into the final video, it was astounding to learn about the statistics regarding street harassment and the experiences of our students. Firstly, we found that street harassment is often less talked about and less researched because it doesn’t always immediately impact one’s physical safety. Yet, research has consistently shown that men feel significantly safer than women, especially when simply walking in their own communities. Nearly 65% of U.S. women reported experiencing street harassment at some point in their lives, and the prevalence of such is heightened in major cities (“Unsafe and Harassed in Public Spaces, 2014).
In order to produce our video, we also polled our students on their experiences. Many of our students reported experiencing street harassment for the first time as minors. Some reported experiences on our campus, although most incidents happened in major cities. The largest goal for our project was to raise awareness about the fact that street harassment has real impacts on psychological and emotional health. It is a violation of rights and is classified as a form of gender violence, as it disproportionally affects women and men are overwhelmingly the harassers of both men and women (“Unsafe and Harassed in Public Spaces,” 2014). In order to change the climate of street harassment on our campus, we also called on video participants to make a call to action.