Photo by Alandra Chavarria
Today, we are recognizing Equal Pay Day, which represents how far into a year women need to work to earn what men earned in the previous year — women’s earnings “catch up” to men’s earnings in the year prior. Equal Pay Day dates back to 1996, when it was founded by the National Committee on Pay Equity.
As a nonprofit founded by women to empower women, The Little Market prioritizes working with women artisans and providing them with sustainable job opportunities to benefit their livelihoods, their families, and their communities. The female artisans we work with are part of marginalized and underserved communities. By working with artisan groups in a supportive environment, they are able to create beautiful, functional products while preserving cultural traditions. We have heard many stories of the ways in which their lives have changed for the better — for instance, they earn more respect in their communities, domestic violence has decreased, and they can work toward a brighter future. We believe it is incredibly important to stand up for women’s rights, to raise awareness, and to stand in solidarity by recognizing significant moments in history such as Equal Pay Day.
Women make up almost 50 percent of the workforce, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Yet, in 2016, women working year-round and full-time made 80.5 cents for each one dollar earned by a male counterpart. The IWRP reports that if the change in gender pay gap continues as slowly as it has during the last 50 years, women will not reach equal pay until 2059. For Hispanic women and Black women, the wait is even longer — 2233 and 2124, respectively.
While we look forward to the achievements that have yet to be made for equal pay and women’s rights, we also acknowledge the many accomplishments made in history thus far. At the beginning of 2018, Iceland’s Equal Pay Standard was passed; companies that consist of at least 25 full-time employees are required to analyze their salary structures every three years to make sure they are paying men and women equally for the same work, according to the New York Times. They will be held accountable as they report back to government for certification or for penalties when assessed. More recently in March, France initiated new labor proposals that would affect French companies discriminating against women and their pay — if caught discriminating, they would have three years to close the gap or be faced with fines, according to the BBC.
We invite you to join the conversation with us to speak up for women’s rights including the right to equal pay for equal work without discrimination. Host a community event to raise awareness with your neighbors. Stay educated on the issues, and educate others to spread your knowledge. For example, you can create informational brochures and hand them out. Share your story with others to further the conversation.
Thank you for supporting The Little Market and the hardworking female artisans we are proud to know and empower! Together, we can work toward a more equal world where everyone is guaranteed equal pay and human rights.
National Committee on Pay Equity
American Association of University Women – How to “Celebrate” Equal Pay Day
Institute for Women’s Policy Research – Pay Equity & Discrimination
New York Times – Iceland Makes Companies Prove They’re Not Paying Women Less
BBC News – France labour: Firms to be fined over gender pay gap