Event Highlights Gender Discrepancies in Wage Gap
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This year, in preparation for Equal Pay Day, the Dickinson chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) hosted an event on Britton Plaza to educate attendees about the importance of equal pay between women and men.
2017’s national Equal Pay Day was Tuesday, April 4, a day that symbolizes the point in the year to which women must work to make the same amount of money as men did the previous calendar year. According to data provided by the AAUW from the U.S. Census Bureau, white women who work full-time only make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. However, this number changes for minority groups. The AAUW reports that among Hispanic and Latina women, the difference is the largest, with only 54 cents to every dollar. According to Angelica Mishra ’19, secretary of the Dickinson chapter, the difference is 63 cents among African American women, 60 cents among Native American women, and 90 cents among Asian American women.
For some students, this event provided a new and eye-opening perspective. For example, Brooks Hamilton ’20 was not previously aware of Equal Pay Day, but the event resonated with her.
“I feel like we’re well into 2017, and it’s just very discouraging to think that women working up until today will have just made as much as a man would have.” She further emphasized the event’s educational benefits, stating, “I’m all for equal pay, but I didn’t even know that Equal Pay Day was even a thing, so that’s awesome.”
Although AAUW has been an organization since 1881, the Dickinson chapter only started in 2015. When AAUW president and founder Margot Abrahams ’17 saw the AAUW informative display set up by Becky Hamell, associate vice president for Student Leadership & Campus Engagement, she immediately felt drawn towards the organization.
“I really connected to its message and was like ‘Wow, this is what I love to do,’” she said. “I’m a women and gender studies major as well, so it was really exciting for me to see how I can use what I’ve been learning at Dickinson the past two years to kind of facilitate conversations and programming on campus.” She reported that approximately 50 students normally attend AAUW events, coming from a variety of backgrounds and majors.
“It appeals to so many different interests and issues. Really whatever you’re interested in you can lobby for via AAUW.”
Although the organization is only a year old, it has already gained recognition through its Gateway to Equity Award, which, according to the AAUW Pennsylvania website, “honors an individual, group or organization that has shown by action or philosophy the promotion of the AAUQ mission of equity for women and girls…”
Abrahams hopes that Dickinson can continue encouraging more leaders and involvement through AAUW in the future while maintaining an inclusive approach. “We said we wanted AAUW to be a club that wasn’t isolated,” she explained while describing the organization’s goals. “We’ve really been able to do that. So, that’s been a big accomplishment.”
The event, which was held on Monday, April 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. was run primarily by Abrahams, Mishra, Vice President Maddie Jones ’19, and member Katherine Barter ’20. According to the Carlisle AAUW website, carlisle-pa.aauw.net, the group is an organization that aims to advance women’s equality through involvement in advocacy.