The League of Women Voters recognized the National Equal Pay Day by holding a Tuesday luncheon in Tallahassee. As Sascha Cordner reports, the organization wants to raise awareness about the lingering wage gap between men and women.
Equal Pay Day falls on April 17th, and this year, it commemorates how many extra days women would have to work into 2012 to catch up to how much their male counterparts earned in 2011.
Jessica Lowe-Minor is the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters. Her group along with the Oasis Center for Women and Girls and the Business and Professional Women of Tallahassee decided to raise awareness about the issue through a luncheon on Tuesday.
“At this point, in Florida, the wage gap is at about 80-percent. So, women are making 80-percent less on average than their male counterparts, which actually translates into a loss for Florida women of about $8,000 a year, which is pretty significant.”
Lowe-Minor says many people are encouraged by stories shared during the luncheon about women who have overcome the wage gap issue. Tallahassee’s Fire Chief Cindy Dick was the keynote speaker. Her fire department employs nearly 30 women, making up 10-percent of the workforce.
She says working as a firefighter in such a male-dominated field, she’s had to overcome some obstacles. She says if men and women feel strongly about making the wage more equal, they need to understand what it takes to move issues like this forward.
“Sometimes, it takes aggressiveness and just no nonsense, pushing through an issue to get any ground. And, sometimes, it takes dancing a little around the issue to get around it. And to just be aware of the circumstances you face, the tactics that work best for you because the objective is really to continue to progress until we get into a position until we can change the rules. And, make it a more equitable place for everyone.”
At the event, many women and men wore red as a show of symbolism. It was their way of showing that women and minorities are continually “in the red,” as long as they’re not making the same amount of money as men. Jessica Lowe-Minor with the League says the pay gap is far worse for women who are minorities.