Today I am taking you with me to a lunch I attended last week to honor Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day represents the date in the current year through which women must work to earn the same amount their male counterparts earned the previous year.
Last week, I attended a Lawyers Club event in San Diego featuring Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary, -Treasurer/CEO of San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. As head of the Labor Council, Ms. Gonzalez has worked tirelessly for equal pay for union members.
Lorena discussed the significant and crippling impact of unequal pay upon women, their families, society, and our nation.

Tune in to learn about how to make a difference and closing the gap:

Here are a few things I learned at the luncheon.

  • Women must work 99 days longer to earn as much as men made last year.
  • The losses over the course of a woman’s work-life due to gender pay inequity for a high school graduate is $700K, a college graduate is $1.2M, and a professional school graduate is $2M. (source: wageproject.com)
  • What would equal pay look like? By closing the gap, GDP would increase by 9%. Poverty rates for single mothers would decrease by 50%. Poverty rates for dual-income families would decrease by 25% (source: learnstuff.com)
  • One of the issues is the lack of access to other people’s salary information because employers don’t allow employees to talk about what they make. But, women need to know the data to ensure that they are making a fair salary. We don’t talk about salary enough.
  • If women make less, it means they are contributing less to their retirement, as well. Which has much further reaching consequences than our paycheck amount.
  • It is not about the choices women have to make. Men can’t bear children. We have no choice.  Women make less than their husbands, which is a common reason why women end up being the one to stay home with their children.

Here are a few steps you can take to make a difference and work on closing the gap.

  1. Spread the word about the gap and equal pay day. Other people don’t know we are fighting this fight.
  2. Encourage other women to negotiate and to talk about pay and salary.
  3. Encourage Congress to pass the paycheck fairness act which will allow employees to talk about their salaries.
  4. Encourage your organization to offer salary negotiation workshops and diversity policies
  5. Research salary.com and payscale.com to confirm your salary is at or near industry standards.

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