Community leaders encouraged attendees at an event at Venture Cafe Miami earlier this month to learn more about the discrepancies in pay between men and women and work to close the gap.
Kathy Andersen, the executive director of The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, showed the audience billboards the group created emphasizing on the emotional appeal of the equal pay campaign.
“The numbers don’t lie; One in five women in Miami-Dade live in poverty,” she said during the April 4 event.
According U.S. Census figures from 2017, slightly more women than men – 20 percent vs. 17 percent – live below the poverty line in Miami-Dade County.
Maria IIcheva, who authored a report in 2018 titled “Status of Women in Miami-Dade County,” said Hispanic and African American women get paid even less money, even if they are more qualified.
“Actually, more women than men have earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees since the 1980s,” Ilcheva said. “In fact, for the past years, they have also earned more doctoral degrees.”
Ilcheva added the wage gap is real.
“About three days ago, Time magazine reported that nearly half of men believe the pay gap is made up,” she said. “We must educate individuals.”
Ilcheva also spoke about the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act and the importance of paying attention to actions of politicians.
“The House of Representatives already approved the act on closing the gap between what men and women make for doing the same job. We are now just waiting for the Senate to hopefully approve it,” she said.
The state director for Fight for $15, Jawair Culbreath, urged attendees to take part in the equal pay movement.
“The majority of poor people are minorities. The majority of poor people are women. We need passion and we need to fight for underpaid employees so they can be heard,” he said. “We need to care and have advocacy for this issue.”
Attendee Manuel Peña said he was inspired by the talk.
“I would like to learn from what they have to say and if there is equal pay, then there should be equal work,” he said. “I’m willing to put in my part in this.”