PALO ALTO, Calif., April 10, 2018 – Today is Equal Pay Day, which marks how far women had to work into 2018 to catch up with what men earned in 2017 alone. Women on average are paid 20% less than men—and Black women and Latinas are paid even less. To raise awareness of the gender pay gap and its negative effect on women and families, Lean In is launching #20PercentCounts, the first of three public awareness efforts this year rooted in the idea that equal pay matters. According to new research conducted by Lean In and SurveyMonkey, once people know there’s a gender pay gap, most agree it’s a problem. One in three Americans is not aware of the gender pay gap—and men are almost twice as likely to think it does not exist. However, almost 75% of people think it would be a major problem or a crisis if they earned 20% less money, and an equal percent say the gender pay gap is unfair once they realize it exists.
“Closing the gender pay gap is about basic fairness,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and founder of LeanIn.Org. “It’s about valuing women’s work and investing in women’s abilities. It’s about supporting the families who depend on women every day. And it’s about building an economy that makes the most of everyone’s talent.”
With the help of adidas, Lyft, P&G, Reebok—all leaders in the push for equality in the workplace—and local businesses in more than 40 U.S. cities, Lean In is asking consumers to think about the impact of getting 20% less as they make everyday purchases today.
At adidas stores across the country and on adidas.com, customers will see the messages of #20PercentCounts on everything from shopping bags to purchase receipts. Lyft is turning its in-app vehicle icons into symbols of the gender pay gap. Reebok is asking online customers to imagine getting 20% less of their order—and P&G is promoting the importance of equal pay for women in its April brandSAVER, which reaches 46 million U.S. households, as well as sponsoring this year’s campaign videos.
In addition, leaders from our Lean In Circles community—a global network of 36,000 small peer support groups in 162 countries—have recruited businesses in cities including Atlanta, Des Moines, Richmond and Sacramento to promote #20PercentCounts in stores and online. Businesses ranging from coffee shops to dry cleaners will donate 20% of sales to organizations that support women and families, including the American Association of University Women, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Dress for Success and Feeding America. Salesforce, an equal pay pioneer, is providing the financial support for this Lean In community-led initiative, and GoFundMe is providing the social fundraising platform and the Direct Impact Fund to collect and distribute the donations.
On Black Women’s Equal Pay Day on August 7 and Latina Equal Pay Day on November 1, Lean In and our campaign partners will do the same to highlight the 38% and 46% pay gaps these women face.
“We are thrilled to be working hand in hand with our partners and our Lean In community to raise awareness of the gender pay gap,” said Rachel Thomas, president of LeanIn.Org. “This campaign is designed to get people to think about the real-world implications of making 20% less money, because that’s effectively what’s happening to women in this country. They are missing out on real income that would make a difference in their lives.”
Lean In and SurveyMonkey’s recent survey findings also show that Americans think more needs to be done to close the gender pay gap. Sixty percent of people attribute the gender pay gap to sexism or unconscious bias, while just 5% think women don’t work as hard or are less educated than men. Only 16% of people think companies are doing enough to close the gender pay gap, and only 21% think the government is doing enough. Moreover, people would consider changing their own behavior, too. Sixty-one percent of Americans are less likely to buy a product from a company that does not pay women fairly, and almost a third of workers would not apply to a company with a gender pay discrepancy.
“At SurveyMonkey, we believe in the power of data to drive meaningful change. The fact that most acknowledge that the gender pay gap is unfair and are willing to take action show that we can all do more to close that gap, whether it’s in business or our greater communities,” said Sarah Cho, Director of Research at SurveyMonkey.
To further bring the impact of the pay gap to life, Lean In has developed a new video of women and families—many from our Lean In Circles community—explaining what earning less means for them. When asked what 20% more would mean in their lives, one woman says it would go toward her son’s education, another exclaims, “I wouldn’t have my student loans anymore,” and a family explains they could use the lost income to buy a house—or “two houses, actually,” says their son. Their sentiments are supported by a large body of research that underscores the benefits of closing the pay gap. If women were paid fairly, women on average could afford 74 more weeks of groceries each year, and Black women and Latinas could afford 159 and 193 additional weeks, respectively. Moreover, the average woman would make over $400,000 more during the course of her career, and millions of working women and families would be lifted out of poverty.
At leanin.org/equalpay, visitors can watch our campaign videos, explore the gender pay gap “by the numbers” on an interactive data page, and show their support for #20PercentCounts. In addition, business leaders and managers will find information on what they can do to close the gender pay gap, and women can watch Duke business school professor Ashleigh Rosette explain how to navigate gender bias in negotiations and get tips for how to effectively negotiate based on Lean In and McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace research.
With the help of large-scale distribution and advertising partners—including Facebook, Google, Instagram, Lifetime, LinkedIn, PayPal and Twitter––#20PercentCounts is also reaching millions of people online.
KEY FINDINGS FROM LEANIN.ORG/SURVEYMONKEY SURVEY:
Too few people know that women are paid less: One in three Americans is not aware of the gender pay gap—and men are almost twice as likely as women to think it does not exist. 37% of men think there is no pay difference by gender, compared to just 20% of women.
Earning 20% less is a big problem: Almost 75% of Americans think it would be a major problem or crisis if they earned 20% less money—and 85% think it would be a major problem or crisis if they earned 40% less. (Yet women on average are paid 20% less than men, and compared to white men, Black women are paid 38% less and Latinas are paid 46% less.)
Most people think the pay gap is unfair: When presented with information that women on average are paid 20% less than men, 73% of Americans think it’s unfair. Moreover, 60% of people attribute the gender pay gap to sexism or unconscious bias, while just 5% think women don’t work as hard or are less educated than men.
Equal pay matters to people: 61% of Americans are less likely to buy a product from a company that does not pay women fairly, and almost a third of workers would not apply to a company with a gender pay discrepancy. In particular, 42% of women say they are not at all likely to apply.
People think more needs to be done: Only 16% of Americans think companies are doing enough to close the gender pay gap, and only 21% think the government is doing enough.