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Stop The Robbery and Give Women their 23 Cents
Every March the Commission on the Status of Women meets for two weeks to discuss women’s progress and emerging issues. The Commission, which convenes government representatives, civil society and United Nations organizations at UN Headquarters, focuses on a different priority theme each year. In keeping with 2017’s priority theme of women’s economic empowerment, UN Women launched an important campaign titled #StopTheRobbery.
The catchy, blunt title of #StopTheRobbery refers to the fact that women worldwide make less money than men for doing work of equal value. For every $1 that a man makes, women make 77 cents—leaving a 23-cent pay gap or “robbery.” This unsettling fact holds true across all levels of management and all industries, from doctors to lawyers to even Hollywood. While there is nothing wrong with someone being paid more for doing a better job, there is absolutely no excuse that a female employee who does the same quality of work as her male coworker is paid less, simply because she is a woman.
What does the gender pay gap mean? It means that single mothers are literally fighting for every dollar they make to take care of their children (single mothers often make less than their married counterparts). It means that women have to work twice as much as men to make up for lost wages. The 23-cent gap translates into a lifetime of lost wages; one study found that American women born in the 1950s lost out on half a million dollars in wages! According to the UN, the wage gap won’t be closed until 2069—and that is only if governments and the private sector come together to ensure that women are fairly paid.
Equal pay for women is not a new discussion: back in the 1960s and 1970s, the United States and United Kingdom governments respectively passed Equal Pay Acts aimed at women. Yet, to this day women in those countries still receive less than men. More recently, Germany instituted a minimum wage to help ease the gap. Several countries across Europe celebrate Equal Pay Days to raise awareness. And on International Women’s Day, Iceland announced a new mandatory law that will require companies to prove they pay all employees the same, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality.
23 cents may not seem like a whole lot of money. But the #StopTheRobbery campaign is not really about the money. It is about equality and fairness
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