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‘Equal Pay Day’ to inform UWRF students about pay equality

March 25, 2015

“Equal Pay Day” is the day when the amount of money a woman makes this year will have caught up to the amount of money a man made last year, and this year “Equal Pay Day” lands on April 14, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will have a table in the University Center to provide information about pay equality.

The purpose of “Equal Pay Day” is to bring awareness of the issue that woman today are still earning less than men, even with the same amount of education and work. Sue Danielson, a retired teacher and member of AAUW, said the organization hopes to shine a light on the issue, educate people about the pay issues and change the pay gap between men and women.

“We’ve always been concerned with women getting a fair shake and helping with discrimination,” Danielson said.

According to the AAUW website, the organization has been around for over 130 years and works to improve the lives of women.

Maureen Olle-LaJoie, head of library systems and technology at UW-River Falls, said she wanted to get involved with AAUW after she attended a session at the River Falls Public Library. Olle-LaJoie said AAUW was having a discussion about the book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg.

“They had this panel of women who are in leadership positions at companies come in and discuss their perspectives of the book and it made me realize some of the things AAUW stood for was something I was interested in pursuing,” Olle-LaJoie said.

Olle-LaJoie said “Equal Pay Day” is a good opportunity to be aware of the inequity that exists. UWRF Career Services will be putting on a “Start Smart Workshop” on April 8. which will help people learn salary negotiation techniques. Salary negotiation is another reason why women might not be getting paid as much as men said Olle-LaJoie.

“Negotiating as a man does, does not necessarily give you the same results as a woman, so this is a great opportunity for university students to learn these skills,” Olle-LaJoie said.

Danielson said there are some other strategies that people can do to help with pay gap issues.

“As an individual, women can learn strategies, also you can help by talking to the people you have elected into office to continue to work on the Equal Pay Act,” Danielson said.

Danielson said AAUW will have a table in the University Center on “Equal Pay Day,” which will provide more information that people can take with them about pay equity. The AAUW will also have Payday candy bars for all to enjoy. There will also be a display in Davee Library.

According to the AAUW website, AAUW also conducts research on issues related to gender equality in education in the workplace, helps shape the lives of the next generation of women leaders, advocates that advance equity for women and girls, supports challenges to sex discrimination in higher education and the workplace and provides educational and lifelong learning opportunities for women.