Equal Pay Day 2018 is Tuesday, April 10. This day represents the approximate day the typical woman must work into the new year to make what the typical man brought home at the end of the previous year. In essence, a woman has to work more than three additional months to earn the same as a man. The Census Bureau finds the wage gap to be 79.6 cents, but the gap widens with race, age and ethnicity.
Equality isn’t a female issue; it’s a social and economic issue. In fact, closing the wage gap could add could add $2.1 trillion to the US economy, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. In 1997 the cast of one of my favorite shows, Friends, came together and demanded equal pay for equal work! Today their message is not only still relevant, but it’s as important as ever. Let’s stand up, raise our voices and close the wage gap together. Here are some ideas on how we can work together to make it happen.
Be transparent about pay. Let’s get comfortable talking about salaries with each other. Starbucks has already adopted a policy of no retaliation or discrimination for employees who talk about salary, which is a good step towards bringing inequities to light.
Stand up for each other. Speak up and do something when you see inequities. A good example of this is how Mark Wahlberg donated $2 million to the Time’s Up Legal DefenseFund in Michelle Williams’ name in light of a major pay discrepancy while filming an upcoming movie. Most men want to help. Talk to them about the pay gap so they can be part of the solution.
Partnership starts at home. Nearly half, or 43 percent, of qualified women with children take a career break to focus on family matters, which impacts their compensation when they want to reenter the workforce. This isn’t a female issue, but a caregiving issue. We can help level inequities by having men take on equal household and caregiving responsibilities, so work together with your partner to divide and conquer.
Take parental leave. Back to the caregiving issue: Women’s salaries decrease four percent for every child they have, while men’s salaries increase six percent for every child. Factors such as unconscious bias about women being caregivers impacts hiring and compensation. If you’re a man and your company offers parental leave, take it. This can help level the playing field by making it more acceptable for both genders to be caregivers.
It will take 217 years to close the wage gap, according to the Global Gender Gap report. I don’t know about you, but I definitely can’t wait that long. Let’s stop admiring the problems and activate solutions for change. We all can do this, together. What are some of yoursuggestions on how we can work together to close the wage gap? Please share your ideas with me in the comments below, and check out the Modern Guide to Equality for more solutions on how to advance workplace equality.