Women in Business

What is Equal Pay Day

Bag Affair has been created to offer business bags for women- a tool for the daily life in the workplace – Bags which finally are feminine while being practical. Bags which allow women not to use anymore the heavy business bag made for men. Bag Affair stands for equality in the work place and wants to empower women.

But Bag Affair is as well an ethical and sustainable brand as we believe that you need to treat everyone and everything in respect to create something: animals, the planet and humans. Therefore Bag Affair follows the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations – and number 5 of 17 is to reduce inequality between men and women.

To this topic of equality of men and women at the workplace or in general the equal pay day reflects perfectly the current state of development.

Origins of the request for equal pay – the BPW

The equal pay day has been created by the BPW (Business Professional Women) organisation. Created 1919 in Kentucky this foundation of women now counts over 100 member countries. The current president (2017-2020), Amany Asfour, a business lady from Egypt, defined the current objective: Empowering women to realize the sustainable development goals.

To sum up this sounds like the idea behind Bag Affair: Women, manufacturing under good work conditions, respecting the planet and animals, business bags, which help women in business to gain one step further towards equality.

The BPW works with 6 principles in their international actions:

“ 1. Helping women take responsibility at all levels, in the economy, politics and society
2. Think and act locally, nationally and internationally
3. Network, mentor and lobby
4. Continue to learn throughout life
5. Working with the United Nations and other international organizations
6. Develop multi-cultural friendships “

Present all over the world, this association helps on national as well as global levels, from meetings in cities to global events. Furthermore the equal pay day is one of their actions to attract more attention to the gap between men and women at work.

What is the equal pay day? – What does this day stands for?

The equal pay day defines the day of a year until which a woman needs to work to gain the same amount of salary compare to male workers on date of 31 December of the year before. For example in 2019 (mixing all domains of work) a difference of 23.7 % in average in terms of salary did exist. Women did gain in average 23.7% less salary compared to male workers. There have been 253 working days in 2018. These working days get multiplied with the pay gap of 23.7 % to calculate that women need additional 60 days of work to reach the same level. These 60 working days define the equal pay day 2019.

Meanwhile this day shows the inequality in terms of salary, working hours, management levels, etc. and to break the stereotypes. 

The 25th of March 2020 is the equal pay day of the year in France – 12th edition to point at the problems between men and women at work representing a gap of 23.8 %.

In Germany the equal pay day 2020 is on 17th of March as the pay gap is at 21% in average.

In total “13 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Estonia, France, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) organise an Equal Pay Day according to the respective Pay Gap in their country.”

How do you call an employee who gains 25% less than the others? – A female employee.

Even though it sounds like one, this is not a joke but reality. Women still earn less than their male colleagues. But what is the reason? – The answer is more complex than simple discrimination and often a mix of reasons.

Around 30% of the gender pay gap can be explained of the high rate of women working in low-paying sectors and jobs like care or education. In other words men are representing (over 80%) high rates in very well paid jobs like science or engineering.

The work-life balance each and every one of us searches is also a reason. Women work in total more hours compared to men, but many of these hours home or with the children which are not paid hours.

Only 10% of CEOs in top management positions are women. The biggest gaps in terms of earnings (23% average) are manager jobs.

Discrimination still happens and even if women do jobs in equal positions as men work is still not always paid with an equal value.

Ask for more – show your red handbag

Red colour and especially a red handbag became the symbol of equal pay day during the last years. Most women associations call to wear red on this day to symbolize that women are still in “red numbers”. The red purse shows the red numbers in the women’s purses. It is a symbol against discrimination and for equality. Showing the symbol of the red bag also stands for solidarity and the request for an equal pay in many actions and events in each country of equal pay day.

Check out the Equal Pay Day website of your country and see what events are taking place. Take out your red purse and participate. “

PLEASE NOTE: All the following ideas have been planned before the COVID-19 crises and need to be suspended for your safety and health. Please respect what your government advises and stay home to protect you and your family. Read the following section as ideas only- we will take back out action as soon as we can to spread the word about the Equal Pay Day.

Equal Pay Day 2020 – What Bag Affair does

As explained before we want since company creation change things, get the message out there that women need the same rights, possibilities and salary as men. But we do not believe that turning the Equal Pay Day into a commercial event is a good idea. So there will be no discounts or special offers, no campaigns to sell or similar events.

What we want to do is actually to share the message and that for we organize an event in our town Brest in France where we invite women to learn for free from professional trainers how to negotiate a salary, how to apply for a job and how to value yourself in the workplace.

We might not touch hundreds and thousands by doing so. But we hope that by touching a few, we can get the message out there. We hope that these women will benefit from this day and share what they have learned so that step by step the empowerment can spread.

Equal Pay Day 2020 – What you can do

So you might not be in Brest or France, but you can still participate in an event these days. Check out the homepage of your country and see what is offered.

Or just do something in your scale: If you can touch at least one person, you already make a change!

Lady in red: The 25th of March is a Thursday and most other Equal Pay Days are during the week as well. So you probably have to be in the office with no possibility to participate in a walk through the town or events during the day. How about dressing instead in red colour? You might not have a red handbag and please do not buy one just for one day. But a red dress, pants or pullover you might already have in your wardrobe. So get these out and go in red to the office or your meetings. This will for sure get the attention to you and give you’re the possibility to explain to your co-workers, your boss and clients what actually is going on these days.

Social Media: Social Media can be a very useful tool to share a message. Use your Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to post and share about the Equal Pay Day. Furthermore how you want to get the message out, via a picture, a colour, a text, this is up to you.

Friends evening: Invite your friends over for an evening together. Leave the invitation open, no further explanation. Once people arrive to your house, serve them as you would usually do with drinks and food. With one difference: Always give more to the men than the women. One glass of wine to men, half a glass to women and your friends will soon realize that something weird is going on. Explain what Equal Pay Day is about and that the way you serve only shows how in the daily life men and women are treated. This ill for sure start a discussion and everyone can participate with their experiences. Of course fill up the girls glasses as well. This can lead to super interesting exchanges and become a very rich and inspiring event.

But now on you – get the message out and let’s all together work towards more equality!

Please note that there is another way to talk about gender inequality- the gender pay gap. This calculation, made often on European level compares the time women work for free compared to the average lower salary- this day will be in beginning of November (4th in 2019) based on an average 16% less earning of women compared to men.- more to follow end of 2020.

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