Equal Pay Day Q and A: Angela StevensonApril 09, 2011
Angela Stevenson, the public health general manager for the Wayne County, Michigan, Department of Public Health, talked with us last week about what inspires her to advocate for pay equity. Stevenson will speak at AAUW’s Equal Pay Day panel on Monday. Join us for this event and remember to commemorate Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, April 12!
Tell us about the first time you negotiated your own salary.
Only just recently, I was met with the opportunity to negotiate my salary. I was contacted by a previous supervisor who had moved on to another agency. He said that he had the opportunity to pick anyone he wanted to fill a particular position and that given that choice, he picked me. I asked him, “Why me?” He replied that my work speaks for itself and told me to “name my price,” within reason of course. I was happy to see the day that I could be someone’s first choice based solely on my work performance.
What hopes do you have for the next generation of women?
I have a 19-year-old daughter, and my hope for her is that she is successful. I hope that society will view her for who she is and that she can prosper in an environment that fosters equity.
What’s the most striking statistic or story you’ve heard about the pay gap?
I have had the pleasure of participating in a project that assessed the impact of pay inequity on health outcomes of women and children. Being a health care professional, it was innovative and exciting for me to examine what is typically thought of as a social issue or political issue and to study how it may affect one’s health and well-being. It is simply unbelievable to me that in 2011, women continue to earn less than men, whether they do the same job or different jobs.
What are your thoughts on the Wal-Mart v. Dukes case?
My strongest feelings are that I am happy that these women were courageous enough to band together to stand up for themselves and essentially all women. It will take large numbers with a strong, concerted voice to tear down the walls of structural discrimination asserted by [such large entities].
Do you do anything special to mark Equal Pay Day?
Not before this year. However, participating in AAUW’s Equal Pay Day event has increased my awareness and will be the start of a new tradition of recognition for me.
If you had to choose a pay equity theme song, what would it be and why?
I would choose the song “If I Were a Boy” by recording artist Beyoncé Knowles. It speaks about the differences in what is acceptable for men versus women.
If you could meet any famous women, dead or alive, who would you meet and why?
I would like to meet Lady Bird Johnson, Rosa Parks, and Hillary Clinton because they are all strong women who promote fairness.