Are You Ready for the Equal Pay Act’s 50th Anniversary?May 14, 2013
AAUW members never fail to outdo themselves — this year’s Equal Pay Day efforts were more impressive than ever, with more than 130 activities held across the country! Thank you for your efforts, whether it was planning a rally in your state capital, hosting a Cocktails and Convos event, or writing a letter to the editor. But as you know, our work is never quite done.
This year we have not one but two excellent opportunities to call attention to the need for legislative and executive action to address the pay gap. And the second opportunity is coming up next month: the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, June 10.
At 50 years old, the Equal Pay Act is the keystone law for equal pay — and it’s in bad shape. The law is outdated, contains too many loopholes, and quite simply, hasn’t worked as well as we need it to. That’s why Congress needs to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84/H.R. 377). In the meantime, the president should issue an executive order to implement part of the Paycheck Fairness Act. The best way to call on our elected officials to take these actions is by planning successful events and activities around the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act.
Already have an action in the works? Let us know about it here.
Need ideas? The options are endless. It could be a Cocktails and Convos at a local restaurant with AAUW members, college women, and local elected officials. It could be an in-district meeting with your member of Congress and a handful of AAUW members — and you could deliver a cake.
A cake? Yes, a cake! Many of you are already familiar with the concept of distributing or selling cookies with a “bite” taken out representing the 23 percent gender pay gap. You could plan an activity with a variation of this concept: bringing a cake with a 23 percent slice missing to a meeting with your elected officials. Think of it as a birthday cake with this message: What’s better than the Equal Pay Act’s 50th anniversary? A Paycheck Fairness Act birthday.
We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to planning an equal pay cake activity and a colorful graphic (see above) you can print as a sticker to place on the cake box. The project is easy to plan, and it’s just the kind of thing to get everyone’s attention, including local media and prospective AAUW members — plus, it will make for some great pictures!
Here are some additional resources to help you plan other activities around the Equal Pay Act anniversary:
- A proclamation. We encourage you to ask your local elected officials (governors, mayors, city council members, etc.) to issue proclamations recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act and calling on the U.S. Congress to act. AAUW states and branches in Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania were successful in securing Equal Pay Day proclamations from their governors or local mayors, so let’s build on that success!
- Write a letter to the editor. Another highlight of Equal Pay Day was the number of letters to the editor published by AAUW members. You can easily submit a letter or an op-ed to recognize the anniversary in your community (we’ve also got tips for writing an op-ed).
- For more information about pay equity and ideas for action, you can always consult the Pay Equity Resource Kit.
Whichever activity you decide to plan, please make sure to share the details with us using this online form. This way we can feature your activities, send you stickers and posters, and provide other resources to make your Equal Pay Act anniversary activities even more successful.
Want to talk through your plans? Feel free to reach out to us. We are here to help! I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.785.7704. Or you can reach Samantha Galing, our field director, at email@example.com or 202.785.7786.
Speaking of June 10, I hope you will join us at AAUW’s National Convention in New Orleans, which will be held June 9–12. We will mark the anniversary with a panel discussion featuring AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz and fair pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter. Register for convention today!
Learn more about the pay gap and join AAUW in the fight for fair pay.