We started out by gathering information about the wage gap, and tried to include as much information as possible about all of the different factors that influence people’s pay. Then we consolidated and put our information onto a trifold poster that we displayed at the table during the bake sale. We also had to have baked goods, of course, and because we worked in collaboration with WILL, we had plenty of people to bring in baked goods. We also had various people in WILL that worked the bake sale with us.Our project is important because the wage gap is something that impacts many people and is something that people should become more aware of in their lives. One individual stopped by the bake sale who basically said that all of our statistics were wrong and that the main thing that influences the wage gap is women exiting and entering the workforce when they have children. This individual denied that people, on the basis of race, sexuality, gender identity, etc., have different and unequal opportunities. We saw this as proving the point that the wage gap is something that more people should be aware and informed about because there is so much misinformation and denial that it is even a problem.
Additionally, we tried to include information and statistics about the wage gap that were not just limited to gender and race because there are so many factors that can cause someone to be paid less (or more) than others. We felt that it was extremely important to recognize intersectionality and how it comes into play in the wage gap.
One of the biggest challenges in a project like this is trying to make sure everyone is included in the research; while we did build off of last year’s pay equity bake sale and include information on how the LGBTQ community experiences the pay gap differently, how people of different races experience the wage gap, etc, we did leave out how disability might impact someone’s pay. Also, there was no way to include every race category in our sale, and the statistics we used only included very broad terms, such as ‘Asian,’ which could generally refer to anyone from any of 48 different countries. One of the biggest problems was working with the gender wage gap statistics which from the beginning did not seem to include enough people. Having more people with many different perspectives would be beneficial in a future bake sale. Having such a big and bright board definitely caught the attention of a few people, so our aesthetics definitely helped bring a few people to our table. At the end, calling out “free food!” also turned some heads, and thankfully those people were also interested in the activism and not just the goods.
This project made it clear that we can do activism and that we can do things to make a difference.
We’ve learned that it’s important to work with people who have differing perspectives from you, who could bring something new to the group. We also learned that when organizing with a large group, miscommunication can occur.
Activism does not have to involve organizing a huge event and going somewhere to protest with signs. It can be something as small as hosting a bake sale and informing people of a relevant topic they might not have been aware of before. And something this small can change people’s perspectives and make a difference too.
For more information about the wage gap, please visit: