Equal Pay 2019 in Charlotte

Equal Pay Day 2019

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Tuesday April 2 is Equal Pay Day. That particular date was chosen because it shows how much more women have to work to catch up with a man’s pay. April 2 shows a women has to work a little more than three months extra to make the same as a man makes in 12 months.

Labor Statistics show women on average get paid about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. The gap is wider for women of color. Things have come a long way in women’s pay but there is still a disparity.

Equal Pay Day had about 40 coffee shops, restaurants, and small businesses around the country bringing attention to the pay discrimination. The business owners passed out coffee sleeves and napkins highlighting Equal Pay Day. Customers think what’s being done at those small businesses will make a difference.

"It starts the conversation," Customer Jennifer Clark said. "It raises awareness. There are really important conversations to have."

The National Committee on Pay Equity released a Proclamation stating the pay gap costs an American woman and her family $700,000 to $2 million in lost wages over a working lifetime.

The owner of Queens Coffee Bar, Raina Purvis, says that data is one reason why she went into business for herself. She worked in Corporate America for about 20 years and her pay was lower than a man she says had less experience than her.

"I would go in and ask for a raise," Purvis said. "but I felt like – you know why should I have to go in and ask for a raise – that should have been something that should have been thought up prior to. It definitely made me feel devalued for one thing and being a woman – that could play a lot with your emotions."

Purvis decided to open up her own coffee shop in November 2018. She believes other women may have to take matters into their own hands if they want to end the pay gap disparity immediately.

"I had to work two jobs in order to make ends meet," Purvis said. "So I figured bust through the ceiling on my own. Make your own job and be in control of how much you are going to make."

US Census Bureau states women owning their own business has grown over the past 48 years. It states the number of women-owned businesses jumped by 3,000%. US Census Bureau shows in 1972 there were 402,000 businesses and in 2018 there were 12.3 million women owned businesses. But while female businesses were growing – there was still a gap between men and women when it comes to getting a bank loan. Biz2Credit states the average loan women owned business was 31% less than what men-owned businesses received in 2018.

"You are going to be known as a bad employer in the area," The Employers Association President Kenny Colbert said. "And it’s going to hurt you when jobs come open."

Colbert says laws have changed forcing some companies to address equal pay. Colbert also says if companies receive federal funding there will be greater oversight to ensure companies are doing right by women.

"If you have 50 employees and $50,000 in government contracts," Colbert said. "You’ve got a whole ‘nother government agencies looking down over you to make sure that you are paying men and women the same money for the same work."

The National Committee on Pay Equity wants the fight to continue for equal pay after April 2nd. The committee wants people to contact their political leaders and tell them the need for fair pay.

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