Cynthia Nimmo, CEO Women’s Funding Network
I get tired talking about Equal Pay Day. I’m angry that it seems to be accepted that women earn less than their male counterparts. We celebrate Equal Pay Day, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, and today – Latina Women’s Equal Pay Day – to raise awareness. That white… non-Hispanic women make 73 cents for every dollar a man makes is old news for most. What may be new for some is that Latina women earn 54 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. Today, November 2nd, marks the day Latinas would make what white men would earn in 12 months, except it would have taken them 22 months. Those dollars earned could be paying for necessities, like food, medicine and transportation, invested in retirement or college savings. Instead the wealth gap grows wider, with the work of Latina women undervalued and underpaid.
I won’t bother with more stats; many others will do that today. Instead, I’d like to focus on two actions each of us can take that could render Equal Pay Day(s) unnecessary. Vote and elect more women. While more companies acknowledge the inconvenient truth of pay inequity and conduct their own audits, we need elected officials willing to legislate equal pay. At Women’s Funding Network, we are proud of our member women’s foundations who have played a critical role in educating lawmakers. Like the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts which helped to pass Senate Bill 2119, establishing pay equity into Massachusetts law. This historic signing celebrated the most comprehensive pay equity law in the United States.
Like the Chicago Foundation for Women and its grantee partner Warehouse Workers for Peace’s advocacy work that resulted in a higher minimum wage in Cook County. And the Women’s Foundation of California’s integral role in strengthening California’s Equal Pay Act, to prohibit employers from paying its employees less than employees of the opposite sex, or of another race, or of another ethnicity for substantially similar work.
Because of successes like these, Women’s Funding Network will continue to share facts and raise awareness. But you – women, men, employees, employers – must do your part. Get involved. Speak up. Vote. Elect women. Looking at it this way, I can imagine a year without Equal Pay Day(s), can’t you?