April 2nd is Equal Pay Day

Wear Red to Raise Awareness

Equal Pay Day (April 2nd this year) symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work to earn what a man earned in the previous year.  Many groups and individuals choose to “wear red” to call attention to the issue. 

Equal Pay Day helps to shine a light on the Gender Wage Gap.  We talked a little about this gap in a previous post about the Status of Women in NH.  On average nationally, women earn about 79 cents per dollar earned by men. This is true in New Hampshire as well. 

The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963 but a distinct wage gap still exists today.  It’s important to recognize that over 50 years later we’re still falling short of that ideal.  There’s certainly been progress but there’s still a long way to go.

There’s a lot of factors that contribute to the gap.  And many of them are more subtle than overt discrimination.  Those factors include culturally-established roles for men and women, differences in which fields men and women find work,  and the burdens of childcare.  Forty percent of the wage gap remains unexplained by these factors and may be caused by subtle discrimination.

The “Mommy Track” Phenomenon.

Unfortunately, too many moms know what this is. It’s when women are assigned less iimportant work with fewer opportunities for advancement.  The justification is that they won’t be available in the future due to familial obligations.  They may be denied leadership tracks or advanced job training, because an employer doesn’t want to “invest” in someone who may temporarily drop out of the workforce. This often leads to women having fewer opportunities to prove themselves and advance their careers.

How This Relates to The Front Door Agency

The Front Door Agency works to provide single mothers in our Transformational Housing Program  with access to higher education as well as affordable housing. The end goal is for the women to become self-sufficient and support their families on their own. For many, it’s a long difficult road since they may not have had role models, access to higher education or career guidance. Our case managers work closely with each client to identify her unique strengths and challenges.

We strive to help a young mom to see her full potential and reach higher than she may have thought possible. We like to think that type of encouragement will one day help her to assert her right to equal pay on the job.

The more we all know about the gender wage gap and chip away at the obstacles for women — the more hopeful we are about positive change. We are proud of the many young Moms in our program who go on to productive careers. Your support makes it all possible and we invite you to learn more about some of these remarkable women on our Success Stories page. We won’t mind if you “wear red” and help us raise awareness by sharing this post, too!