It is kind of rare in this world that we women get a break. Generally, we make less money for the same work than our male counterparts do, (okay let’s be honest, oftentimes we’re actually expected to do MORE work for less pay.) Many of us put up with an extra share of workplace bullying and harassment, and in the end, we’re expected to pay more for most things, from haircuts to health care and dry cleaning.
It can be rare that a company steps forward and says hey, we’re going to untie this Gordian knot, and give women back a little bit of what they deserve.
But it happened today, in Amherst, in its own small way.
The Works Bakery & Cafe, in honor of National Equal Pay Day, gave every woman who came in a 21% percent discount, to reflect the 21% less women are still paid, on average, for doing the same job as a man. The restaurant is part of a small chain, with shops in Brattleboro and Manchester, VT; Keene, Concord, Durham and Portsmouth, NH; and Portland, ME.
“Our entire company is doing it,” said Amherst restaurant manager Ashley Klein, adding that women customers were pleased with the discount for National Equal Pay Day. “They’re actually very excited that we’re supporting it.” Klein said 60 percent of the Amherst staff are female.
For yours truly, the discount meant that my egg & cheese bagel with onion and large iced coffee fell to under $6 combined, kind of a rarity these days. But it meant more to me than the dollar or so I saved. It was a recognition of a big systemic problem, for which American women pay a deep price in the course of our lifetimes.
What if every restaurant and retailer, all over the United States, gave women a 21% discount on National Equal Pay Day? That would certainly be a nice gesture and would probably lead to a bump in sales in early April. And then just imagine how much business activity – even home sales – would ramp up if we women got that 21 cents we’ve been waiting for, in every paycheck. Imagine us all, with more jingle in our jeans. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting plan for economic growth?