BPW Equal Pay Day Workshop at CSW56

For the past four CSWs, the International Federation of Business and Professional Women has hosted a workshop at the German House Main Auditorium on Equal Pay Day. The day marks the extra days the average woman must work to make the same pay as the average man the year prior. The formula is very simple:

%pay gap * average work days (225) = the average extra days a woman must work

This year in the United States, Equal Pay Day falls depressingly on April 17th. The worst offender of the participating countries is Korea, whose women must continue to work until May 21, 2012 to make the same as men did in the year 2011.

The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the reasons for the wage gap. These reasons include discrimination in education and the workplace, undervaluing of women’s work, traditions and stereotypes, segregation in the labor market, the glass ceiling, and unequal balance of work and private life. Interestingly, it was argued at the workshop that although women are on average more educated in developed nations, they are still paid less because their income is viewed as supplementary to family income rather than as a bread-winning role. The long term effects of the pay gap are lower pensions paid to older women and higher poverty rates for women.  Also, because women live longer than men, they become a heavier burden on their families during their golden years.

To achieve their goal, the Equal Pay Day campaign seeks to make the pay gap transparent and sell the business case for gender equality. It does so through networking activities worldwide, organizing events, and involving increasingly more countries. The campaign created signature “red bag” which are distributed to represent the red numbers in women’s pockets. There are also several media campaigns to raise awareness, the latest of which is a satirical video which can be found here.

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