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Pittsburgh “pay as you’re paid” shop open for business

Pop-up shop calls attention to wage gap
April 20th, 2015
By: Julie Ratcliffe

IMG_6806The fight for equal pay is far from over but women all of the United States are determined to make a difference. Every April there is one day that raises awareness to the disparaging pay gap between men and women. Started by the National Committee of Pay Equity in 1996, Equal Pay Day has grown and caught the attention of women and men who find the wage gap unfair.

Graphic designer and art director, Elana Schlenker was one of those people who found the gap gender-biased so she did something about it. Schlenker opened a pop-up shop in Pittsburgh that requires men to pay the full ticketed price for items and women pay only 76%. The idea “pay as you’re paid” is an in-your-face way bring attention to the 76% wage gap. The exact percentages of the gap vary from report to report, but according the American Association of University Women, females make closer to 78% of what men make for the same job. Schlenker’s shop is a “tongue-in-cheek [way] to grab the community’s attention and then foster dialogue around the issue”, and she hopes those conversations shed light on the bigger issues of gender biases.

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Courtesy: U.S Census Bureau

Unequal pay awareness hit home on April 14th when members of Dr. Ward’s Gender Inequality class organized a Ship 4 Equal Pay Day which encourage Shippensburg University students to wear red and use the hashtag #ship4equalday on social media.

Social media is a great tool to spread a message but Schlenker believes the problem is not a simple fix, “remedying this isn’t about discriminating against men, or even passing legislation necessarily—there are a lot of more deeply seeded issues and biases in our society that are perpetuating this problem. Recognizing this, while encouraging women to ask for what they’re worth is, is one small step toward positive change”. The shop includes a wide range of items from ceramics to prints to jewelry, all made by women and the proceeds go directly into the pocket of the artisans.

Schlenker plans to move her shop around the country, adjusting the ticket prices to reflect each state’s gap.

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