Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Exposing the wage gap: OUC students present on wage inequalities

OUC students Josh Reisinger and Stephanie Stevens teamed up to share information about the inequalities experienced by today’s workforce, specifically between men and women’s earnings.

According to the United States Department of Labor, women who worked full-time, year-round in 2014 earned on average 79 percent of men’s median annual earnings. Despite the change in the make-up of the labor force over recent decades, women are still earning less and minority women are disproportionately affected by the wage gap.

As a part of the Women’s and Gender Studies – Activism class, Reisinger and Stevens took to the halls to help educate and advocate for a change.

“Part of making a change is just knowing there’s an issue,” said Reisinger, a senior studying social work. “That’s something that this class has taught me. I didn’t know that this issue existed and now that I do, I’m aware of it and can make changes. I can educate my daughter. I can be a voice for people that don’t always have one.”

Through informative literature, a presentation board of statistics, one-on-one explanations of the wage gap data and collective activism through collecting sticky notes to send to Ohio legislators, the two reached out to any and everyone who would listen.

Stevens, a non-traditional student who has children and has been in the workforce, said it’s important that this issue is discussed because it’s not only a women’s issue but it affects families as well.

When asked what information she hoped people learned from the event, she noted, “more than anything, I hope people take away the knowledge that the gender wage gap does exist.”

Reisinger emphasized the importance of their project by stating, “It’s important for people to have access to this information because it’s not easily accessible to the average person - you have to do the digging to find the statistics on it. It’s important for women to know they have tools to use if or when they experience inequality at work.”

Stevens offered advice on how to get involved by researching information on the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau website as well as writing to local and state representatives to support fair pay legislation.

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