Did Someone Say Cake? Sweet Support for the Paycheck Fairness Act

You know the numbers: Even with more women in the workforce than ever before and two-thirds of women functioning as primary or co-breadwinners for their families, in 2014, women working full time, year-round, were still paid 79 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. So how can we call attention to this persistent pay gap in a way that will show members of Congress they must act now? With cake!

Delivering an equal pay cake is an easy-to-plan project for your branch or state and it’s just the kind of thing to get everyone’s attention, including local media and prospective AAUW members. Follow these steps to make it a success in your community.

Choose your targets strategically.

We recommend you focus your efforts on just one of your federal legislators to make the planning process easier. First, find out if your senators and representative are co-sponsors of the Paycheck Fairness Act. If one of your legislators is NOT a co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, you’ll want to visit that legislator to encourage his/her support for the bill.

You don’t need to travel to Capitol Hill to have an impact! Members of Congress typically have multiple offices in their state and district — visit your representative’s and senators’ websites to find the office nearest to you. Plan to visit during weekday business hours. Your member of Congress may be in the office if your visit coincides with a Congressional recess. Check the Congressional calendar! Once you have finalized the details, let us know so that we can lend our support.

Bring friends, materials – and cake!

Once you’ve set a date, time, and location, recruit the help of your fellow AAUW branch members. Consider reaching out to other local branches or organizations—the bigger the group, the bigger the impact! Divide responsibilities among interested volunteers, such as the role of buying or assembling the cake, contacting the media, and promoting the event.

Consider the following best practices:

  • Top the cake with a message in icing, such as “AAUW says pass the Paycheck Fairness Act!”. Keep in mind when you’re decorating that you’ll need to cut a slice out of the cake to represent the 21-percent wage gap
  • Make your ask specific: “Will you co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act?”

Follow up

After your visit, send an email or letter to your member of Congress restating your request that they co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act or thanking them for already doing so. You can also call reporters who did not attend the event and offer them additional information, or you can write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to draw attention to the event and restate your “ask” to the elected official.

As always, we request that you report your results to AAUW so we can recognize your hard work and amplify your efforts!

Got questions or need more resources about working with state legislators to advance equal pay legislation in your state? We’re here to help! Contact the AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Department staff at advocacy@aauw.org.


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