Today is Equal Pay Day. Sounds delightful until you pause to think about what the day means: It highlights the pay gap between men and women by recognizing the day a woman would have needed to work until to earn the same amount as a man would have in the past year. Last year, Senator Elizabeth Warren pointed out that the day should not be treated as an upbeat empowerment holiday, but rather as “a national day of embarrassment.”
On eJewish Philanthropy, Stephanie Blumenkranz, Rabbi Marla J. Feldman and Rabbi Mary Zamore take the occasion of Equal Pay Day to remind that equal pay for women and men remains elusive both in and outside of the Jewish community. (The authors cite previous Forward coverage of the issue.)
The authors bring attention to a “new Reform Movement pay equity initiative”:
In the coming months, comprehensive tools and strategies to eliminate the wage gap will be developed and integrated into every stage of employment, engaging both employers and employees. Leading experts and trainers will be brought in to conduct interventions and work with all stakeholders – including congregation boards, clergy, and professionals of all levels.
How will this work? “[T]o address inequities that result from the hiring process, women professionals may be trained with gender specific negotiation skills, while at the same time training will be provided for those responsible for hiring to recognize their own biases.”
Sounds promising to me, and like an initiative worth keeping track of, for women and employers of women alike.