YWCA USA CEO Alejandra Y. Castillo was recently interviewed by USA TODAY about the wage gap, as the organization joined the National Women’s Law Center and other nonprofits in “commemorating” Moms Equal Pay Day on June 10—the date marking how far into the year that the average working mom has to work to earn what the average working dad earned in one year.
The gender pay gap is persistent: on average, women are paid 80 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make—and this gap is even worse for working moms, who earn 68 cents compared to working dads, and for women of color. The wage gap exists in every state in the U.S., across all demographics and through all industries.
As an organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, issues of economic security and empowerment are integral to YWCA. We’re working to tackle the wage gap and economic disparity in a number of ways, including:
- Advocacy: At the federal level, YWCA USA advocates for policies that remove barriers and expand opportunities for women’s successful workplace participation. We support fair wages and equal pay; safe, fair, and inclusive workplaces free of discrimination and harassment; job-protected safe leave, paid sick leave, and paid family leave; and more. Join us in urging your Senators to support the Paycheck Fairness Act and full funding of the Violence Against Women Reuathorization Act of 2019 (VAWA), and tell your Member of Congress to support paid leave by co-sponsoring the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act!
- WOMN ETF: YWCA USA has partnered with Impact Shares to launch the Women’s Empowerment ETF (WOMN), a first-of-its-kind exchange traded fund that invests in companies whose business practices align with gender-equality standards. Impact Shares donates a portion of the fees from the management of the WOMN ETF to YWCA, for us to increase our national impact through direct service and advocacy.
- Economic empowerment programs: YWCAs across the country offer programs to support women’s empowerment and economic advancement, such as job training, financial literacy, and leadership development. In particular, we address the reality of how race impacts women’s economic opportunities. We serve over 122,000 women each year through these programs.
With over 200 local associations in 45 states and the District of Columbia, YWCA is not only working to raise awareness but also tackling issues like the wage gap and equal pay head-on. And we’re starting to see positive steps forward. As Castillo noted, “I think that awareness is taking on a different tenor as more people are talking and trying to do something about pay inequity. It starts with awareness and talking about the future of work. The economy is changing but we have to mind the gap.”