Fort Wayne, Ind.

YWCA Northeast Indiana Educates Community about Equal Pay Issues

YWCA Northeast Indiana Intern Kylie Parks rallies with her community for pay equity.

Equal Pay Day fell on April 9 this year, marking the amount of time into a new year that women have to work to achieve the income men earned the previous year. Each year on Equal Pay Day, as a part of a state-wide initiative with other Indiana YWCA’s, the YWCA Northeast Indiana sponsors an event to stress the ways to close the pay gap.

In recognition of Equal Pay Day 2013, the YWCA Northeast Indiana hosted an Equal Pay Day Rally. The rally was attended by community members, members of partner organizations (AAUW, Ivy Tech Community College, League of Women Voters, and the Women's Bureau), and members of the local media. YWCA Northeast Indiana President and CEO Debby Beckman explained how the Pay Equity Act came to be passed and why 50 years later, it's still not enough.

“The first step in addressing the wage gap is to raise awareness by educating businesses, organizations, and our communities that it exists. Our Pay Equity Panel discussion and Equal Pay Day rally focus attention on the inequality that persists years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act,” said Debby Beckman, YWCA Northeast Indiana President and CEO. 

Pat Becker of AAUW urged everyone to contact their elected representative and demand their support of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which strengthens the Equal Pay Act. Nancy McCammon-Hansen of the League of Women Voters says that pay equity has to do with more than pay checks - it's about children's futures.

Ivy Tech Community College Northeast was pleased to be a partnering organization in Women’s Pay Equity Week for 2013. In addition to helping with the planning and execution of the week’s events, members of the college’s Career Services staff spent the day at YWCA Northeast Indiana's offices to assist clients and community members with resumes and job-search strategies following the rally.

The following day, a continental breakfast and panel discussion on Pay Equity was held. The panel comprised of community leaders, from a male CEO of a major local bank, to a female member of the Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, and discussion ranged from how to discuss negotiating pay equity with a daughter or niece, to how to weigh the pros and cons of leaving an employer due to pay inequity.

It has been nearly 50 years since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed, yet according to the 2010 U.S. Census, women in Indiana are paid 73 cents for every dollar men are paid. Equal Pay Day provides an important opportunity to draw attention to an issue that many believe to have already been solved. But with the Paycheck Fairness Act currently stalled in the United States Congress and women’s wages  playing more of a role in the economic security of their families, the issue is as in need of attention as ever.

The Equal Pay Day Rally and the Pay Equity Panel provided a forum for both discussion and education. The panel provided attendees with the knowledge of how to handle a situation in which they believed they were experiencing pay inequity, how to discuss the pay gap with up and coming generations, and what resources are available should someone feel the need to file a formal complaint of pay inequity against an employer. This knowledge and these resources are quite vital and still oftentimes unknown to the community. In addition to drawing attention to an imperative issue, the YWCA Central Indiana helped to educate the community.

Learn more about the YWCA Northeast Indiana and their programs, and visit them on Facebook