Equal Pay Day: Pittsburgh

"Choose a field, choose a job, doesn't matter, we get robbed. Women's wages are crawling along..." were the first words I heard as I made my way over the the middle of Market Square during this afternoon's Equal Pay Day rally, organized by the Women and Girls Foundation. Last year, while I was still in my undergrad at Seton Hill, I planned an Equal Pay Day rally for Greensburg, Pa, with a grant from the Women and Girls Foundation so I felt compelled to go and show my support today in Market Square.

Signs like this were everywhere! Will Work for Change!
Each year, since 2005, the Women and Girls Foundation has been organizing and supporting these rallies all over the place so it was exciting for me to see this rally and hear the messages since this was the "main" Equal Pay Day rally. Before it all started, women (and men!) were gathering around and checking out the information booths set up near the middle of the square of different women's rights groups. Among them were the Women and Girls Foundation, the YWCA, the Women's Law Project, New Voices of Pittsburgh, AAUW and some others that I'm probably forgetting, but who are just as important. It was so great to see all of these groups joined together for the day; handing out information, registering voters, selling PayDay candy bars (my favorite!), collecting tote bags to give to families who rely on the food bank, signing petitions that deal with women's issues and just all kinds of interesting little projects going on. The energy of the event was empowering in itself!

Heather Arnet speaking at the rally.
As I said, last year I planned an event like this in Greensburg and even though it was pouring that day, I was so surprised at our turnout and how many people came out to support the cause and essentially, stand up for such a big issue while standing in the rain. I'm still was so surprised by how many people, women and men, support this issue, yet nothing seems to be done about it. While, Heather Arnet, who as of today was added to my list of favorite women, and is the CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation said that the wage gap in Southwestern Pennsylvania has gotten smaller in the last few years (from 69 cents to every dollar men make, to now 77 cents) what's disheartening is that there still is a wage gap. The fact that I may one day land an awesome position in a company and be paid less than the guy next to me, while we're doing the same job, blows my mind. But I know that I would negotiate and stand my ground until something about that changed. I also know that I will actually more than likely be working harder than that guy and it will be easy for me to prove that because I'm a go-getter, so I can fight for myself, but it's women who think they cannot do that who I want to support.

Pay Day 2011 in Greensburg - Thank God for Victoria's Secret umbrellas!
That's why I love these rallies, I love that there are strong women, standing up for themselves, while standing up for their sisters. Nothing makes me more upset than girl vs. girl crap in the corporate world or in life in general. I know that sometimes I'm guilty of this too, but it's time that we stand together as women - nothing will change until we make that change.

A couple of things that I loved about this rally were 1) so many younger voices! I'm so tired of this generation being called apathetic, to see younger women and men in the crowd and speaking made me so proud. 2) when it was said that for women there is no disconnect between educational, reproductive or economic issues and that they all connect to each other - this point is so true and needs to be treated as such, and 3) "When will we stop being nice about inequality?" - I'm wondering the same thing. I don't think that if the tables were turned that men would be as nice as women have been about this issue. So I guess if we want paid like the boys, it's time we act like them when it comes to issues that matter to us...only we'll do it with class, and for me and I'm sure some others...in heels.

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