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A day for equal pay

A day for equal pay

Taryn Mitchell '25 March 23, 2022

On this year’s International Women’s Day, March 8, a pair of British marketing professionals set off a firestorm on Twitter that reached audiences on UD's campus.

They created a Twitter bot called the Gender Pay Gap Bot that identified companies and organizations supporting International Women’s Day on Twitter, but added the pay difference between men and women for that company. 

For example, Daisy Communications, a British communications firm, posted a tweet honoring the women in its workforce using the hashtag #InternationalWomensDay. The Gender Pay Gap Bot retweeted it, adding, “In this organization, women’s median hourly pay is 9.2% lower than men’s.”

“[We’ve] been embarrassing companies with their own data … We hope it's sent a signal to employers that vague messages of 'empowerment' aren’t good enough!” Lawson said in a tweet.

The University of Dayton Women’s Center is hosting several activities and events to celebrate Women’s History Month in March, including Equal Pay Day March 24 to draw attention to the wage gap. 

As of 2022, a woman in America earns approximately 83 cents to every dollar that a man earns, according to the National Women's Law Center.

Equal Pay Day began in 1996 as a fixed day in April to draw attention to that wage gap. It now changes yearly to signify the number of extra days the average woman would need to work to catch up to the average man’s pay from the previous year.

Headshot image of Susan Weaver
Susan Weaver

Susan Weaver, lecturer of political science with a concentration on women’s and gender studies, said the wage gap started when women first joined the workforce and has been present ever since. According to Weaver, when women joined the formal economy, there was an assumption that their income wasn't necessary for the household. 

“Women wanted to work, but the role of making money still fell to the man of the house,” Weaver said. “This meant that women worked more for the sake of working rather than making money, and this system has continued today.”

“Women wanted to work, but the role of making money still fell to the man of the house.”

Though women in America do formally have legal equality, the wage gap is still present because equal pay isn't well enforced, said Weaver.

“We now have legal equality when it comes to pay, but that doesn't necessarily mean that there’s enforcement in terms of making sure that takes place in all places of work in our society,” said Weaver.

Weaver explains that one of the main reasons that equal pay is not enforced is due to women not consistently fighting for it because in their day-to-day lives, they are not necessarily feeling oppressed. Weaver said this is especially true of white women. 

“They're not getting angry and pushing back,” Weaver said.

Also according to the National Women’s Law Center, women of color experience even higher wage gaps. In America, women who are Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander are paid 75 cents for every dollar paid to white men. For Black women, it’s 58 cents. For Native American women, it’s 50 cents, and for Latin or Hispanic women, it’s 49 cents. 

The Equal Pay Day campaign was designed to address these issues, but many men and particularly white women are not as affected by sexism on a daily basis, said Weaver, so they are not as quick to act and respond.

“If you're not uncomfortable in the life you're living, you're not going to question it,” said Weaver. “There’s no reason to, because you're not affected by it, but you have to force yourself out of that comfort zone and realize that other people are and do something about it.”

Girl power. Period.