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FTW Friday: Equal Pay Day

Kelsey Braithwaite

Ladies. We are so close.

Our southern neighbours have taken another step towards recognizing the need for equal pay for women.

This past Tuesday, president Obama vocalized his support for the Paycheck Fairness Act to be passed. The act points out the loopholes in the ironically titled Equal Pay Act and, if passed, would strive towards proper payment for working women across the nation.

Obama went as far as to taunt the Senate into making the correct choice.

“If Republicans in Congress want to prove me wrong, if they want to show that they, in fact, do care about women being paid the same as men, then show me,” Obama said. “They can start tomorrow. They can join us in this, the 21st century, and vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act.”

Unfortunately, the Congress did not pass the bill. Shocked? No. But you can’t blame a girl for hoping against hope.

Thankfully, Canada has its own warriors who are devoted to the cause. Toronto’s Mary Cornish, human rights lawyer and chair of Ontario’s Equal Pay coalition, has been gathering information on this for years. Cornish was the driving force behind the Pay Equity Act in 1987. Last year, she requested that Ontario’s premier Kathleen Wynne make April 9 Equal Pay Day.

It didn’t happen then, but good news, it’s happened now. This past Wednesday, our provincial government moved ahead and announced April 16 as Ontario Equal Pay Day.

The coalition’s website celebrated the government’s actions but acknowledge the war’s not won. Especially not for marginalized women.”Women of colour, aboriginal women and women with disabilities face the worst discrimination,” the website said.

Angella MacEwen, a journalist for rabble.ca, spoke on this issue in her piece “From he-cession to precarious she-covery”.

Her post included a table on “employment gains and losses” which identifies the vast gaps between payment for the two genders. But MacEwen also reminds readers that women of colour, women with disabilities and women new to the country were not included on this specific table. And let’s not forget about trans women.

But any and all visibility matters. The coalition recently posted a video reenacting the ridiculousness of the wage gap, featuring a male voice over. In it, the narrator calls the gap a “mystery of nature.” But the main character calls him out on his bull.

“[The wage gap] happens because society undervalues women’s work,” she informs the narrator. “But together we can change that.”

Hear, hear!

 

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