AAUW, BVU faculty present Equal Pay Day ACES


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Madeleine McCormick, Co-Editor-in-Chief

One week prior to it’s date, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) President Zoey Breese and two BVU faculty, Professor of Digital Media Dr. Andrea Frantz and Professor of Graphic Design Miranda Pollock, delivered an ACES presentation for students about Equal Pay Day on April 10.

Roughly 40 students filled the rows of Hansen 8 to learn more about how the pay gap could impact their future after Buena Vista University (BVU).

Equal Pay Day is dedicated to representing the gender wage gap. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), Equal Pay Day began in 1996 to raise public awareness about the discrepancy between men’s and women’s salaries across occupations in the United States and support women in the workforce.

Breese presented information from AAUW comparing weekly and annual earnings between men and women. The graphs showed women in Iowa are making 77% less than men.

Breese went further showing statistics supporting the idea that even women of color are making less than other white women. According to AAUW, women of color make 63% less than white men, and there are other days dedicated to representing that discrepancy.




“But men in the room, Equal Pay Day is not only about women,” Breese said. “This is about you too. One day, the gender wage gap will impact your wives, your children, and your joint income.”

The numbers are compared using median income rather than the average; a larger number factored into the average can skew the results, according to Breese.

For the students in the room, many struggled to grasp the idea this could impact them in the near future as they prepare for the career force. Dr. Frantz shared a story from her early career days when she negotiated for higher pay, or attempted to, and was rejected.

“He told me to stop talking about it, and if I wanted higher pay, I could find a different job,” Frantz said. “I wish I would have spoken up instead of staying quiet [like he told me to].”

Women participating in Equal Pay Day express that women are paid less due to cultural barriers like getting married and starting families, and Breese agrees.

“We can’t have successful communities without women. We produce life,” Breese said.

“This is a political issue, as much as it is anything else,” Frantz said. “We cannot be responsible for cultural problems that create a barrier for women.”

According to AAUW, there are six ways to “celebrate” Equal Pay Day:

  1. Urge elected officials to act on Equal Pay Day
  2. Host an unequal bakesale, or “unhappy” hour
  3. Launch an equal pay media blitz
  4. Host an issue forum in your community
  5. Bring AAUW salary negotiation workshops to your community/campus
  6. Get creative

Breese encourages anyone who wants to be involved with the Storm Lake chapter of AAUW on the BVU campus to contact her at: [email protected]