(Un)Happy Equal Pay Day!

GovFem_FinalYesterday was Equal Pay Day. If you aren’t familiar with the holiday, the title alone might have made you think it was a fun holiday celebrating women having equal opportunity. Who doesn’t love getting cash money, right?

Actually, Equal Pay Day is a bit of a downer. It’s defined by the federal government as “the date in the current year that represents the extra days a typical woman working full-time would have to work just to make the same as a typical man did in the previous year.”

In other words, it’s a day to recognize how women continue to be underpaid in relation to their male counterparts. (To get more information on exactly how unequal pay is today, you can read this depressing fact sheet from the White House or this even more rightfully outraged article from Fortune.)

Of course, it doesn’t do much good to simply reflect on inequalities in opportunity or pay. Instead, we have to think of solutions. And thankfully, the federal government is starting to show a clear realization of that fact.

Just yesterday, two initiatives were announced to help promote greater equality in government.

First, yesterday marked the kick-off of OPM’s Diversity and Inclusion Collaboration and Innovation Summit. The summit is meant to be a forum for federal employees “share ideas and develop new ways of implementing diversity and inclusion strategies throughout Federal government.”

Acting Director Cobert’s opening remarks set the pace of the summit, noting an explicit focus on unconscious bias and a “like me” culture. You can read her remarks here, and stay tuned for more details about the summit’s progress.

Second, to investigate more long-term solutions to inequality, the Presidential Innovations Fellows and Commerce Department jointly deployed a program called Hack the Paygap. It’s described as “nationwide effort of developers, designers, and data scientists building tools and products to close the gender pay gap.”

The project is focused on three objectives:

  • Connecting people interested in collaborating to address pay inequality, both virtually and at an in-person hackathon on May 15
  • Building data-driven solutions with information and challenges provided by the initiative
  • Informing the general public with resources and data about pay inequality

You can join the initiative on Slack, GitHub, or by signing up for their email list.

While Equal Pay Day can be a little disheartening, it’s great to see the federal government using it as an opportunity to focus on change and progress. Do you know of any other government initiatives to address the pay gap between men and women? If so, tell us about it in the comments below!

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