There are a lot of reasons to fight the pay gap on a daily basis, and, good news — there are also a lot of ways you can do it. From calling representatives to voting, each method of fighting the pay gap is just as important as the last, and most can be practiced daily.
Nothing will change if we settle for what we have, and what we have isn't enough. We deserve more. But much like smashing the patriarchy, this fight feels like an overwhelming task to take on. It can stress you out and crush your motivation before you even get started.
But it doesn't have to be that way. As with any major social change, progress is slow, but every little step helps us get closer to the finish line. If you put in the work that can sometimes feel tedious and never-ending, our daughters and granddaughters might never know what it feels like to make less money for doing the same job as men. (You know, the way things should have always been!) Here's how you can keep the fight against the pay gap alive each and every day. Take note of these tips, and if you're able, do as much as you can to push back against the pay gap. Every little action helps.
1. Learn Everything You Can
Knowledge is power, right? If you want to engage in this conversation and enter this fight armed with facts, then you need to know exactly what you're fighting for. Learn this history of this battle.
Did you know that the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was created to solve this very problem? That was over 50 years ago, folks — and look where we still are. Even more upsetting, is the 2015 Global Gender Gap Report, which predicted that it would be more than 170 years until women received equal pay. Fired up yet? Let that anger fuel your continued research into this matter.
2. Understand How This Affects Women Of Color
Before you start making posters for upcoming protests that include "78 cents for every dollar!" you need to know that this is not an accurate number to use because it unfortunately isn't true for all women. Because while white women make 78 cents for every dollar a white man makes, Black women only make 64 cents, and LatinX women only make 54 cents.
This is not just a gender issue, it's a race issue, as well. Which is what makes this conversation so crucial in our current political climate. Use 54 cents as your marker in this fight, because that reality cannot be ignored if progress is to be made.
3. Call Your Representatives
Ugh, talking on the phone. It's torture. I feel you. We've all but done away with this old school form of communication. But there are direct phone lines to your local officials, and if they want to keep their jobs, they need to know where their constituents stand on current issues.
There are plenty of tools to make this nightmarish task easier. If you don't know who your representatives are, you can type in your zip code here, and the site will take you directly to your reps and their contact info. (Mine is Maxine Waters, and I would be honored to call that queen every day of my life.) You can also call 202-224-3121, and tell the operator your zip code, and you'll be connected to your rep's office.
To make your calls easier, follow a simple script. A secretary will most likely answer your call. Say your name, the town, state, and zip code of your residence. Say you don't need a response (this will speed the process along so your response is logged without an additional step needed). State your stance on equal pay, and thank them for their time.
I've officially removed all of your excuses to avoid doing it (sorry not sorry), so get to work.
4. Remind Others To Call Their Reps
If you know your reps are on your side, encourage friends and family in other districts to learn where their reps stand on equal pay. I would love to contact every political leader who wants to take maternity leave away from working mothers or who think women should stay at home, but calling representatives outside my area creates chaos, and prevents people in those districts from being heard. No matter where you are, who your representatives are, or whether or not you think your call will make a difference, make those calls. Make sure your voice is heard.
5. Find The Politicians Who Are Fighting For You
We're a few years away from the next presidential election, but there are plenty of local elections we can all participate in between now and then. So find out when your next local election is, and who is running. Even if equal pay isn't an issue on the ballot in front of you, know where the people on the ballot stand on the issue. Get to know your local representatives, and the other reps around the country who are actively fighting for your rights. One of them might become the next President, and they need support every step of the way.
Elections are on weekdays, which makes them pretty inconvenient if you have a 9-5 job. But that's still no excuse to skip an election, because, as we've learned recently... every single vote counts. When you aren't voting, start reading up on the next election.
7. Have The Difficult Conversations
I think about the past a lot. Since the election, my mind has been flooded with memories of ignorant, racist, and sexist comments made in my presence that I ignored to avoid an awkward conversation with a family member or "friend." Perhaps if I had sucked it up and confronted those comments, when they were made, we wouldn't be where we are today – with hate crimes on the rise and general stupidity thriving.
None of us can afford to avoid those awkward conversations anymore. We need to face hatred and ignorance head on and educate. We need to raise awareness in an era of "alternative facts." There are men in office right now who legitimately still think women belong at home. Words will always matter. The truth will always matter. And we need to remind the world of that.
8. Never Settle
Just because you may not feel oppressed or lacking rights doesn't mean this is the case. Numbers don't lie, and if you're a woman, you are making less money than a man for doing the same job. You deserve more. You deserve the best. Don't ever forget that. And don't stop fighting, because our daughters and granddaughters deserve the best, too.