Today, March 24, 2021, is Equal Pay Day in the United States, representing the day into the new year that average U.S. women have to work to earn what average U.S. men did in the past year.
You might be wondering why I used “average” and “U.S.” twice. It’s simple. These qualifiers matter. There are different equal pay days in the year for Native American women, Latinas, Black women, and Asian American women. And the situation is different in other countries.
But going back to the average for a moment, as there is instructive value here too, that’s a full 15 months that a woman works to make the equivalent that a man did in 12. Looking at a typical (and honestly, quaint) 9 a.m.-5 p.m. work day, women start working for free at 2:40 p.m.
I don’t consider my time “free” at any point in the day, and neither should anyone else. Woman or man.
I’m proud to lead a company that practices this truth. And always has. Come next week, when we celebrate the 51st anniversary of our founding, we’ll be completing one more year, another 12 months, in which we paid women and men equitably for equitable work.
As it should be. When my parents created this agency, they didn’t give pay equity much thought. Rather, they chose to do the right thing and pay people fairly for the work they did. An obvious approach for a company founded by a woman and a man, you might think. But it was 1970. And obvious it was not.
So, in light of Equal Pay Day, I want to recognize those organizations that are doing the hard work to get their houses in order on this important issue. I also want to provide a small dose of clarity on this and other big professional or personal challenges you may be facing.
Ask yourself (and/or your team) one question: What’s the right thing to do?
Just because different people will give different answers doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. These six words may open your eyes to see the obvious answer hiding in plain sight.
Do the right thing.
Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.