AAUW at Gettysburg recognizes Equal Pay Day
By Nora Tidey, Staff Writer
In 2015 women earned $0.79 on average for every dollar earned by men, a 21 percent wage gap. Women on average make less than men in virtually every occupation, despite earning more college and graduate degrees than men. Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day when women’s earnings finally match men’s earnings from the previous year (being that it takes women approximately 15 months to earn what men make in 12 months) was recognized this year on April 12. It is a day meant to raise awareness and motivate action to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the gender pay gap.
Equal pay is a primary issue for the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the nation’s leading organization for promoting equity and education for women and girls. Through examining educational, social, political and economic issues, AAUW works toward the advancement of equity in all sectors of life for women. Gettysburg College’s AAUW recognized Equal Pay Day through holding a CUB table for the entire week of April 11-15, raising awareness about the gender wage gap issue. During this week the members of AAUW, along with any students who wanted to participate, wrote letters about the importance of equal pay to Congressman Scott Perry who serves Pennsylvania in the United States House of Representatives. AAUW also held a “gender gap bake sale” in which men paid $1.00, white women paid $0.75, and women of color paid $0.50 to emphasize the wage gaps that exist across gender and racial lines.
Other AAUW groups around the country used the national organization’s Equal Pay Day to hold similar events to educate and raise awareness about the gender wage gap. AAUW not only examines the wage gap in terms of gender but in terms of race as well. In addition to already-reduced earnings due to gender, African American women typically make 63 percent of what White men make, and Latina women face the largest gap of all, making only 54 percent of White men’s earnings. With the continued work of organizations like AAUW and increasing education and awareness, these gaps may be closed in our lifetime.