Image by Rachel Bellinsky

Equal Pay Day 2022 is Tuesday, March 15th.

This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. (It was originally called “National Pay Inequity Awareness Day” and changed to Equal Pay Day in 1998.)

Since Census statistics showing the latest wage figures will not be available until late August or September, NCPE leadership decided years ago to select a Tuesday in April as Equal Pay Day. (Tuesday was selected to represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.) The date also is selected to avoid religious holidays and other significant events.

Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.

Awareness with hashtags, t-shirts and poster signs are awesome, but without action, it could be years before #EqualPayDay is no longer a day we recognize every year.

Creating change can be challenging. In hopes to simplify the long journey ahead, we’ve compiled a list of 10 actionable steps that companies and individuals can take to further ensure gender equality and help close the wage gap.

Action Steps for Companies

  1. Conduct pay audits. You don’t know what you can’t see. Taking the time to review and analyze compensation based on gender and race can bring awareness to and help eliminate potential disparity. Tracking this information will make you stand out not only as an organization but will help create transparency and build trust from within.

2. Train managers to understand the impact of gender bias. Conscious bias, unconscious bias and mindsets on leadership styles all play a role in leveling the playing field for women.

3. Make sure women have equal opportunity for advancement. Opportunities that accelerate careers must be equally available from both men and women. Things like access to mentorship, training, promotions and challenging assignments.

4. Make it a norm for women to negotiate.

5. Offer workplace flexibility. Once example is Trader Joe’s, who has taken huge strides in offering flexibility and better workplace culture.

For individuals

6.Become an ally for another female coworker. One example of this is to challenge the “likeability penalty.” When a colleague is called “bossy” or “aggressive” ask for a specific example of what the woman did and ask if they would have the same reaction if a man did the same thing.

7. Give direct feedback. According to research by the Harvard Business Review, “women are systematically less likely to receive specific feedback tied to outcomes, both when they receive praise and when the feedback is developmental. In other words, men are offered a clearer picture of what they are doing well and more-specific guidance of what is needed to get to the next level.”

8. Encourage more women to just go for it. Men apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the hiring criteria, while women wait until we meet 100 percent. This is a simple thing to do and that can be done immediately. 

9. Mentor and advocate for other women. Celebrate the accomplishments of women, fund a female run company and mentor emerging leaders.

10. Coach young girls to speak with confidence.

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