Allyson Stories

Pay Me Like A White Man: A Conversation Starter

Pay Me Like A White Man: A Conversation Starter

Dear Women,

As I write this letter, I stand on the shoulders of my mother, grandmothers, aunties, and countless women who have gone before me. Women who have blazed trails of inequality so that I can run the path before me with strength and grace.

Because of these women, I hold hope and an unshakeable belief that Women Deserve Better. Better than how we were once treated. And still better than we’re treated today. 

It’s true - in many ways, my world is wildly better than it was for them. 

I can vote. I can own property. I can choose who I marry and who I don’t. I can join the military. I can have my own line of credit. I can have the right to work. In some states, I even have autonomy over my own body. In many ways, and in some places in our country, it is better. But we’re still not there. We’re still not treated as equal to a man. For every man’s path that is clearly paved, ours is still riddled with hurdles. 

One of the unfair hurdles women face is the stark reality of the gender pay gap. Black women like myself earn only 64 cents for every dollar paid to a white man. This 36-cent gap isn’t just a number; it’s a symbol of systemic inequities that impact not only black women but Latinas, Native-American women, and indeed, all women. Latinas earn just 55 cents for every dollar a white man earns, while Native American women face a gap of 43 cents. White women, though faring better, still experience an 18-cent gap, earning 82 cents for each dollar paid to white men. Working mothers earn 74 cents for every dollar a working dad earns. These disparities are unacceptable. 

We could talk about blame here, but that isn’t the point. The real point is building a just world where the systems at play value all humans equally. 

"Pay Me Like a White Man" isn't a call for more privilege but a bold declaration of this simple truth: our worth, regardless of race or gender, is not defined by a system that undervalues us. Our worth is inherent to being human. 

That truth was core to the women who blazed trails for me, who fought this fight before I arrived on the scene. 

And now, I am determined to carry their torch forward. Their fight has become my fight. And this fight, my dears, is for you too. It’s for all of us. It’s about creating a world where the color of our skin or our gender doesn’t limit our dreams, where our hard work is met with deserved recognition, and where our future holds limitless possibilities. 

I hope each of you reading this will join me in this fight. I hope the "Pay Me Like a White Man" statement will be more than words, more than a sweatshirt; I hope it’ll be a catalyst for change and conversation. Purchase the sweatshirt and a portion of sales will be donated to the American Association of University Women–wear it proudly, share your voice, and know that you are part of something bigger than yourself. You are part of a historical movement that will rewrite the narrative, one step, one voice, one act of courage at a time. For generations of women to come.

Remember, our legacy is not so much about achievement but about the world we leave behind. Let's leave behind a world where paychecks reflect equality. Join us in rewriting the narrative. The future demands it.

With Love And Unwavering Belief,

5-Step Action Plan for Conversations on Pay Equity:

So you're ready to tackle that pay equity chat? Awesome!  Here's a game plan to navigate it like a boss, sprinkled with some wisdom from amazing women who walked the path before us:

  1. Prep Time: Remember, "Justice cannot be achieved unless you have data." - Marian Wright Edelman. So, before diving in, grab some facts! Research pay equity stats for your industry, company size, and role. Think credible sources like government reports, professional organizations, and salary comparison websites. This ammo will help you explain the "why" behind the conversation.
  2. Timing is Queen: Choose a calm, private setting where confidentiality is respected. Think of it as a team effort to understand and fix pay gaps, not a finger-pointing exercise. Michelle Obama nailed it: "The world needs honest conversations."
  3. Start with Sunshine and Facts: "A woman's success cannot be built on the failure of another woman." - Madeleine Albright. Let's empower each other! Begin by acknowledging their contribution and value to the company. Then, be transparent about your goals - a healthy conversation and solutions!
  4. Share & Listen Deeply: Share your research findings clearly and calmly. Remember, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke. Be prepared for different reactions, from openness to defensiveness. Ask open-ended questions to understand their perspective, like "Have you ever felt there might be pay inconsistencies here?"
  5.  Don't Give Up, Girl! "We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back." - Malala Yousafzai.  Remember, this might not be a one-time chat. Prepare solutions, like suggesting salary transparency policies or internal pay audits. If things get tense, suggest revisiting later. Remember, progress takes time and teamwork!

Remember, be respectful, focus on facts, and aim for collaboration. Together, we can advocate for fairness. If you need more support, I'm always here to cheer you on. You got this!

Here’s some research to get you started:

  1. The Gender Pay Gap Persists: On average, women still earn 83.7% of what men earn for full-time, year-round work in the US (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023). This translates to a weekly pay gap of $197.
  2. Widening Gap for Women of Color: Black women earn only 63 cents for every dollar earned by white men, and Latinas earn just 54 cents (National Women's Law Center, 2023). This disparity highlights the intersectional nature of pay inequity.
  3. Education Doesn't Close the Gap: Even with advanced degrees, women earn significantly less than men. With a Master's degree, men earn $28,000 more annually than women, and this gap widens to $46,000 with a Ph.D. (American Association of University Women, 2023).
  4. Low Wages Impact Millions: Women are 1.5 times more likely than men to work in low-wage jobs, defined as earning less than $15 per hour (Center for American Progress, 2022). This disproportionately impacts women's economic security and retirement savings.
  5. Pay Gap Costs the Economy: The gender pay gap costs the US economy an estimated $2.4 trillion annually (National Women's Law Center, 2023). Closing the gap would benefit not only women but also families, businesses, and the overall economy.
  6. Equal Pay Day: It takes women until October 21st to earn what men earn in a single year, symbolizing the persistent pay gap (National Committee on Pay Equity, 2023).
  7. Full-time working mothers make 74 cents for every dollar a working father earns. That is about a $1,500 gap monthly or $18,000 annually. (National Women’s Law Center, 2023).

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