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Bridging the Gap on Equal Pay Day

Today is Equal Pay Day, or the additional number of days the “average” woman in the U.S. has to work this year to catch up to what men earned in 2017 alone.

Women on average are paid 20% less than men. But that doesn’t tell the full story: This year, equal pay day for black women comes on Aug. 7 and for Latinas on Nov. 1.

In more stark terms, black women earn 63 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man, while Native women earn 57 cents, Latinas earn 54 cents, and the “average” mom earns 71 cents for every dollar a man makes. While women of Asian heritage earn 87 cents on average, there is significant variation within that population largely based on country of origin, so many Asian women earn substantially less.

But 20% is a good way to make a point, so let’s build on it. has enlisted Adidas, Lyft, P&G, and Reebok in a clever awareness campaign designed to remind people how much 20% less really is. What if you only got 80% of a pair of tennis shoes? Although I’m sure your Lyft driver will take you all the way to your destination, an unequal sign will pop up in the app when you’ve got 20% of your ride left to go.

Speaking of making good points, Fortune’s sister-in-equality, Kristen Bellstrom, makes five — by busting some persistent myths in a piece about the gender pay gap that is ideal for sharing with skeptics or the one in three people who don’t know that it even exists. (Also, do yourself a favor and subscribe to the Broadsheet here, a daily newsletter about powerful women that everyone is welcome to read.)

Bellstrom helps explain how the number is calculated and also debunks some annoying notions—like women aren’t as confident or educated as men. But perhaps the most galling myth is the idea that lower pay is justified because women have less experience.

While experience can play a role in the gap, it can’t be used to explain away the phenomenon. Consider a new study from Hired, reported by Recode, which shows that, in certain industries, the wage gap actually grows as women gain experience.

Drawing on a sample of 420,000 interview requests and job offers among 10,000 participating companies and about 98,000 job candidates, Hired found that within the first two years of working in a tech role, women ask for and receive 98% of what men in the same job at the same company are paid. Compare that to women with seven to 10 years of experience, who are offered, on average, 93% of what men are offered. Women with 13 to 14 years of experience receive 92% of what their male counterparts are paid for the same job.

So, what’s it going to take to bridge the gap? Here’s a list of policy suggestions that you may want to consider supporting from the National Women’s Law Center:

  • Strengthen our equal pay laws so that women have the tools they need to fight back against pay discrimination.
  • Build ladders to higher-wage jobs for women by removing barriers to entry into male-dominated fields.
  • Lift up the wages of women in low-wage jobs by raising the minimum wage and ensuring that tipped workers receive at least the regular minimum wage before tips.
  • Increase the availability of high-quality, affordable child care.
  • Help prevent and remedy caregiver discrimination, and protect workers from pregnancy discrimination.
  • Establish fair scheduling practices that allow employees to meet their caregiving responsibilities and other obligations.
  • Provide paid family and medical leave and paid sick days.
  • Ensure women’s access to the affordable reproductive healthcare they need.
  • Protect workers’ ability to collectively bargain.

Here’s another idea: You could earmark 20% of your day (or week, etc.) to advocating for yourself or talking with female colleagues who might welcome the chance to learn what you know about how compensation and career advancement works at your firm.

Technologist Anjuan Simmons calls this “lending privilege,” a leadership practice of everyday people with everyday power who share their access, credibility, or knowledge with others. He wants it to become a thing. “What we’re really looking to do is create a grassroots movement of individual people making changes based on their sense of fairness,” he says.

Bridge the gap, make a friend. Nice, right?

On Point

The most popular Black Lives Matters group on Facebook was fakeTo make matters worse, the fake group held online fundraising campaigns that raised some $100,000, some of which was transferred to Australian bank accounts. It took a week for Facebook to suspend the group after the company was contacted by CNN. The page was linked to a “middle-aged white man” in Australia, who has not responded to request for comment, nor has Facebook. Fortune

“The Simpsons” don’t seem to understand the problem with Apu
Fans were deeply disappointed in the most recent episode of The Simpsons. The beloved show had increasingly been under fire for a racist character named Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, who owned a Kwik-E-Mart and who spoke in a stereotypical Indian accent provided by white actor Hank Azaria. The writers chose sweet Lisa, the heart and soul of the show, to offer what reviewer Dana Schwartz terms a tepid and heartbreaking response. “Something that started decades ago and was applauded and inoffensive is now politically incorrect,” she said to the camera. “What can you do?” Here’s something: Watch the excellent TruTv short film starring Indian American comedian Hari Kondabolu, a one-time Simpsons fan who explores the longevity of the insulting character. He also interviews scores of South Asian Americans, some very famous, many of whom had been bullied by white peers in Apu’s voice.

You will want to meet these eleven barrier-busting advertising women
This beautiful package from AdWeek highlights eleven women, many of color, who have had groundbreaking careers in advertising. They are all “firsts”—the first female and African-American chief executive at Starcom MediaVest Group, the first African American to serve as an IPG company officer, the first to launch a multicultural marketing group at Young & Rubicam, the first woman to become creative director at Leo Burnett, and so on. And they’ve all persisted while being largely invisible to the power players. Says Daisy Expósito-Ulla, who launched Hispanic marketing at Y&R, “Working at Y&R in 1980, no one knew what the heck I did. It was a challenge to prove to the corporation, to my clients that this was a really good business opportunity.”

PayPal is expanding its services to the poor, unbanked
If it works, it will be solving an urgent problem. Working with smaller banks, the company plans to offer debit cards connected to PayPal accounts, along with direct deposit for paychecks and other services. There are small fees for services and ATM withdrawals, but no minimum balances – a huge boon for low-wage workers who typically pay exorbitant rates to payday lenders and for prepaid credit cards.“We’re trying to bring more of those people into the digital economy,” Bill Ready, EVP and Chief Operating Officer at PayPal, tells TechCrunch

The Woke Leader

Teens do a better job limiting social media than adults do
Writer Katie Notopoulos posits that true digital natives actually do a better job preserving their mental health by limiting their time on social media than adults. First of all, they use it differently, for sharing memes and monitoring friends rather than bloviating about politics. “[F]or teens, the stresses caused by Instagram or Snapchat are very different than an adult’s disenchantment with the news on Twitter, and the stakes are often way higher,” she writes. While there’s no data on how often or how long teens take breaks, her reporting finds that the affluent teens she spoke with were keenly aware of how seeing even clearly curated versions of other people made them feel bad. “I tended to play the comparison game between my life and the lives of total strangers,” said one.

On the many ways to be Chinese
Writer Rosalie Chen begins her essay with a lengthy explanation of her complicated lineage. She was born in the U.S., but her father is Chinoy, Chinese by way of the Philippines, and her mother is from Taiwan, but from two ethnic minority subcultures, one of which is losing its language and culture to the march of time. “I wish I could say that I knew Hakka or Fukken or Taiwanese or Tagalog. But I don’t. And sadly, these languages are being erased,” she says. Her quest to unpack her identity inspired her to study in China. At times she became a cultural oddity. “Maybe because of my Taiwanese accent, or maybe because I was with my American friends, or maybe because of my mannerisms, strangers would ask me where I’m from,” she said. Her answer created more questions for everyone, including herself.
Skin Deep

The preacher who revived the Klan
The scene sounds chilling: Methodist preacher William Joseph Simmons accompanied by a dozen or so men, climbed Stone Mountain in Georgia, built an altar, set a cross alight and swore allegiance to the “Invisible Empire.” The date was Oct. 16, 1915, and the KKK was officially reborn. This painful history is part of the reason why the work being done by progressive Christian groups to acknowledge and atone for the past is so vital. “Without confession of the sin of white racism, white supremacy, white privilege,” the Rev. Jim Wallis told The Washington Post, “people who call themselves white Christians will never be free.” Simmons, who declared himself the Imperial Wizard, really ignited a movement. By the early 1920s, the Klan had five million members and had taken up a stronghold in U.S. churches.
Washington Post


To keep alive the memory of the original Klan and its principles, traditions, and institutions which they risked their lives to preserve for themselves and for posterity, the men of today…have established a living, lasting memorial to them by the organization of the Invisible Empire, knights of the Ku Klux Klan, as a national standard fraternal order composed of real American manhood of the nation who uncompromisingly believe in the perpetual preservation of the fundamental principles, ideals and institutions of the pure Anglo-Saxon civilization and all the fruits thereof.
William Joseph Simmons