By Leslie Gill, President, Rung for Women
The gender pay gap is real and keeps women from earning what they deserve. Our organization exists to identify and employ solutions to the systemic economic, social, and health barriers preventing women from creating wealth.
That’s why we’re celebrating Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day and Equal Pay Day this month with events and collaborations created to remind our fellow women of St. Louis that we are worthy, and capable, and to inspire each of us to stand in our power and ask for what we need.
At the center of our celebrations is a rally cry: “Girls Just Wanna Get Paid.” It’s our way of contributing to shifting narratives around money and power in a way that puts people—especially women and, even more so, women of color—at the center.
We see this time not just as a time to celebrate the women who came before us but as critical moments to stand in our power and hold space for all women to earn more money and gain more access to the lives they want to lead.
Overall, women working full time in the U.S. make 83% of what men do. The gap is wider for women of color and for mothers. (AAUW) This causes a wealth gap over a woman’s lifetime that can dilute and diminish quality of life.
Women make up about two-thirds of workers in low-wage jobs (i.e., jobs that pay as low as $7.50 an hour, the federal minimum wage) though they make up slightly less than half (47%) of the workforce as a whole. Women of color are particularly overrepresented in these jobs.
We believe women deserve more—more money, more possibility, more power.
Wealth is the primary vehicle to economic security, opportunities, protection against crises, and access to political power and social capital. To help women build wealth, we empower our members to break through barriers of occupational segregation by helping them make informed decisions about their career pathways, and by providing access to career development programs, mentorship, and a community of like-minded women.
We are creating access to opportunity by breaking down barriers in fields where women are typically underrepresented. One example of this is our Women in Geospatial Careers partnership with Maryville University that recently won a 250,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
And we are doing this because we believe in the women of St. Louis: You are worthy of the life you want to lead and there is a pathway to get there. If you feel stuck in the middle of your career, use my words as a sign it’s time to step into your power. My hope is that our team at Rung can be a guide along the way.
We also hope to use this month to continue to bring joy and build community.
Which is why I’m excited to invite all of you to our Equal Pay Day Party on Tuesday, March 15 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Golden Gems, a local woman-owned lifestyle brand helping us all celebrate our inner badassery.
Guests can get their hands on our collaborative “Girls Just Wanna Get Paid” t-shirts while enjoying music by DJ Nico, a 360 photo booth, gold leaf cocktails by Pour Decisions, and special guest STL Grillz who are seeking women designers to join their team. Both Golden Gems and STL Grillz will donate 10% of sales back to Rung. Plus, if you wear your “Girls Just Wanna Get Paid” t-shirt you can get your photo taken by photographer Miranda Munguia and appear in an Equal Pay Day video by Nyara Williams.
Rung has also been named the beneficiary of more than twelve local events and projects.