An Equal Pay Day Mark Down Raises Awareness About Gender Pay Gap

By Susie Steimle

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A discount with a purpose. Some businesses will be marking down prices on Tuesday in an effort to raise awareness about the gender pay gap.

Emma Porteus said, “At the end of the day money speaks so if we’re so behind in terms of what equal salary looks like then we’ll be behind in progressing in so many other ways.”

Emma Porteus, of Leanin.org in San Francisco, hopes consumers see Tuesday’s 20 percent discount as a big deal, and a wakeup call to the current gender pay gap.

Porteus said, “Right now the wage gap is still at 20 percent so we want to make sure the consumer feels the difference and by seeing that they know 20 percent still is a huge amount and we have a long way to go.”

Small businesses across the country and the Bay Area will pass along the 20 percent discount on all purchases to all customers, men and women.

Porteus said, “People can really use the #20percentcounts as they’re thinking about what equal pay means to them and start sharing that more publicly.”

“Well it just seemed like the right thing to do,” said Christine Simmons, one of 25 Bay Area businessowners participating.

She admits she hadn’t heard of Equal Pay Day until this year, but she also hadn’t heard of International Women’s Day. She’s hoping both become tradition, and help the country close the gender pay gap.

Simmons said, “Got to do the women’s walk in January, that was my first protest walk so I think the younger generation will see these days as hallmarks and carry on.”

This isn’t the first Equal Pay Day; it was started in 1996.

But Sheryl Sandberg’s Leanin.org is helping the event gain traction on social media.

Equal Pay Day is also always on a Tuesday, because that’s how long, on average, women have to work into the next week to make as much as their male counterparts.

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