Even though it's been 97 years since the 19th Amendment afforded women the right to vote, equality for women is still an uphill battle. From professional sports to politics, there are examples of gender inequality at every turn. As a parent, you have the important job of helping the next generation understand the issue of equal pay and inspiring them to work towards change. If you are looking for a way to start the conversation, you should know how to talk to your kids about Equal Pay Day and the wage gap.
April 4 is Equal Pay Day, which was started by the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996 to show support for working women and shine a spotlight on the gender wage gap, according to USA Today. On its website, the committee noted that it selected a Tuesday in April to represent how far into the next week a woman would need to work to earn the same amount a man earned the week before. As USA Today pointed out, women make up nearly half of the workforce, yet in 2015, they only made 80 cents for every dollar earned by men.
Though this stuff sounds like a grown-up problem, it's important to have at least a basic age-appropriate conversation with your kids about what all of this means and how the wage gap could impact them as they get older. As Noodle.com pointed out, research has shown that children need to be made aware of gender inequality so that they know it is wrong and work against it.
Reading books that defy traditional gender stereotypes and making sure that household responsibilities are evenly distributed, are just some of the ways you can get your kids thinking about why pay equity is so important. And hopefully by the time they enter the workforce, there will be no need for Equal Pay Day.
1. Attend An Event
One of the best ways to demonstrate the importance of Equal Pay Day to your children is to let them see it in action. Find out if there is a grassroots event happening in your community and attend as a family. If there's nothing happening near you, organize a few friends and coordinate your own event.
2. Remind Them There's No Such Thing As Women's Work
As Girls Leadership mentioned, careers such as teaching, nursing and social work tend to be low-paying because they are considered "women's work." By teaching your children that their interests rather than their gender should help them determine their career path, you can help erase this stereotype. If men and women are doing the same jobs, shouldn't they be paid the same wage?
3. Promote Equal Pay At Home
One of the best ways to help your children make sense of the wage gap is to talk in terms they can relate to. If your children receive allowances for doing chores at home, you can talk to them about how they would feel if their brother or sister earned less or more money for the same job. This is also a good time to evaluate chores to make sure everyone is doing their fair share around the house.
4. Read A Book
In my house, storytime is when we have some of our most important conversations. Books can be a great way to reach children on their level about important issues. Children's books that challenge traditional gender roles like The Princess Knight ($10) and Elena's Serenade ($8.50), can be great conversation starters with your little ones about pay equity.