e-Newsletter of Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary | May 7, 2013 Twitter Facebook

AAUW student affiliates work to promote pay equity

Melissa Walters '14 and Allison Samson '14 meet with a representative of the AAUW during Pay Equity Day.

April 9 marked 2013’s Pay Equity Day, which recognizes the disparity in average salary between women and men.

A woman with equivalent qualifications makes, on average, 77 cents for every dollar a man makes doing an equivalent job. On average, a woman had to work from the beginning of 2012 until April 9, 2013 to earn the equivalent salary that a man made by the end of 2012.

Moravian’s AAUW Student Affiliate group worked with students in the Psychology of Women class, the Bethlehem and Easton branches of AAUW, and the Bethlehem YWCA to spread awareness and catalyze change for pay equity.

The Student Affiliate group and Psychology of Women students had an information table in the HUB on Pay Equity Day, where they handed out quizzes that tested and educated on the statistics and legislation related to pay inequity.

They also handed out equal pay pins to raise awareness about the issue. People who stopped at the table also got to see the real-world statistics of pay inequity in action. The students working the table handed visitors cards that assigned a race and sex for each visitor. Visitors were then given an amount of candy that simulated the pay gap. For example, visitors assigned as Asian-American men were given eight pieces of candy, but visitors assigned as Latina women were given only one piece of candy.

Kate Cohen ’13, who led the Pay Equity Week committee, says it was important for the students providing information to recognize the wide impact that pay inequity has on everyone in the country. “It is important to care about pay equity because it doesn’t just affect women. It affects people of color, families, and males as well. Pay equity isn’t just a women’s issue, it’s a social issue,” she said.

The students also hosted the table on April 11, at an “Unhappy” Hour at Bethlehem’s Steelstacks. The Unhappy Hour, coordinated by AAUW and the YWCA, symbolized the unhappiness women feel around the pay gap. Attendees were encouraged to wear red in support of women, who are always financially “in the red” in comparison to men. All women wearing red were given a discount on their drinks equivalent to the pay gap between women and men.

On April 19, Linda Robertson, of the Bethlehem AAUW branch, led a Pay Negotiation workshop at Moravian that was open to all students. One of the leading causes of the pay gap, in addition to workplace discrimination, is social pressure on women not to negotiate their salaries. Robertson’s workshop helped teach the Moravian students in attendance what is necessary to successfully negotiate their salaries in job offers. The event was well-attended, drawing more than 30 students.

The pay equity efforts also included a more direct activism in contacting local elected officials. AAUW and the YWCA drafted a proclamation that was sent to local mayors asking for a greater commitment to pay equity in the Lehigh Valley, which the Bethlehem Branch of AAUW’s research shows is among the ten locations with the widest pay gaps in the United States. The mayors of Bethlehem, Allentown and Easton signed the proclamation, which was officially revealed during Unhappy Hour. Moravian students also joined AAUW and the YWCA in meeting with the Lehigh Valley’s four congressional representatives to discuss pay equity.