Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy    JOINDONATE
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy    JOINDONATE

Equal Pay Day Letters to the Editor

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On April 2, 2019, we mobilized women across the state to address the disparity of wages between the sexes. Although the main event has passed, we can keep the momentum going by sending letters to the editors of our local papers.

Remember: Newspapers generally have instructions for Letters to the Editor on their websites. They also have different word count limits and different submission deadlines, so please check.

Here are some example letters to get you started:

Sample letter # 1 – Longer version (Word count: 450)

According to laws already on the books both in New York State and the United States, Equal Pay Day for ALL Women should be December 31. But it’s not. The average woman must work far into the next year to earn what the average man earned the previous year. 

Every class and race of American woman suffers from the pay gap. March 5 was Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women’s equal pay day ($.85). It takes over 3 months for all women to catch up with white men’s pay on April 2 ($.80); mom’s equal pay happens on June 10 ($.69); black women reach parity on August 22 ($.61); Southeast Asian women catch up on Sept. 12, Native women on Sept. 23 ($.58), and Latina women wait a full 20 months to catch up on Nov. 20, reflecting a pay gap of 53 cents to a white man’s salary dollar.

The gender pay gap not only hurts women and their families, but it also hurts the communities they support. That means local businesses are hurt through lost sales, as are local schools and governments that depend upon sales tax and property tax dollars to fund the programs and the infrastructure those communities need to exist.

The individual cost of wage inequity is also considerable. Earnings for female college grads are about 7% lower than their male classmates, after adjusting for work related factors, and wage disparities exist at every level of educational attainment. As well,  differentiation in job titles and the pink collar ghetto push females into lower paying jobs. The ramifications of the gap and poor earnings multiples over the working career of women and affect economic security as women age.

New research reveals that the gender wage gap starts long before a woman begins her formal working career. An analysis of 10,000 families across the U.S. in 2018 showed that boys earned an average of $13.80 each week compared with $6.71 earned by girls, according to data compiled by BusyKid. According to the analysis, boys averaged more allowance than girls because they were more often assigned chores considered more physically strenuous, including cutting the grass and trimming the bushes. Girls, meanwhile, were more often paid for jobs such as cleaning the toilet, loading the dishwasher or sweeping floors.

So yes, we need stronger laws on the books to close wage gap loopholes and more robust  regulatory systems to better enforce those laws. But we also need to examine our internal prejudices and stereotypes that perpetuate the gender wage gap and look at the downstream consequences. The economy would see an additional $17 billion in spending power – IF the wage gap were Zero.

Sample letter #2 – Shorter letter (Word Count: 300)

According to laws already on the books, Equal Pay Day for for  ALL Women should be December 31. But it’s not. The average woman must work far into the next year to earn what the average man earned the previous year.

It takes until April 2nd for women who work full-time to catch up with their male counterparts; mom’s equal pay compared to dad’s happens on June 10; black women reach parity on August 22; and equal pay day for Latinas is observed on Nov. 20. There are wide wage gaps among Asian women, so some catch up by March 5 but others not until mid-July.

The wage gap starts at the beginning of a woman’s career and multiples over time. Indeed, right out of college, women experience a 7% wage gap. Females are often pushed into lower paying jobs and job titles that allow women to be paid less for substantially equal work. The pay gap can begin even earlier as teens. According to a 2018 analysis, boys earn on average twice what girls earn for chores.

Collectively women in New York State lose $17 billion dollars a year due to the pay gap. This hurts women and their families, but it also hurts the communities they support: local businesses are hurt through lost sales, as are local schools and governments that depend upon sales tax and property tax dollars to fund the programs and the infrastructure those communities need to exist.

Change needs to happen but there is good news. Our state legislature and governor have the opportunity to pass game-changing laws this session. And, Congress may finally move forward on common sense reform. That will only happen if we all speak out, contact our elected representatives, and call for equal pay for all New York women, now.

Additional Resources:

FIND YOUR LOCAL PAPER: Here is a link to papers across the state:

https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/writing-letter-editor-new-york-state

ADD INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR AREA:

Here is link to information on the pay gap across NYS by congressional district:

https://www.aauw.org/aauw_check/pdf_download/show_pdf.php?file=Gender_Pay_Gap_New_York

ADD INFORMATION ABOUT A GROUP OF WORKERS:

If you would like to include additional statistics that are relevant to a specific group of workers, i.e. Latinas or Asian women, there are links to different groups on the Resource page: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P02iuM1iUNd-17rxfvHlTcGECA57BEqej_mr2yBt85M/edit

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