Now, more than ever, women’s publications are finding their voice and using it as a platform to fight against issues afflicting their readers in today’s political climate. Equal Pay Day was no exception.
Even in 2017, women on average are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, with a difference in median income of $40,742 for women and $51,212 for men. This gap exists in every state in the U.S., and as a result, women miss out on an estimated $840 billion a year. Following on the heels of providing special coverage on International Women’s Day last month (or eschewing coverage altogether, like The Cut did to make a statement as part of the “A Day Without A Woman” movement), several publications shared thematic content around the day with a focus on empowerment and education.
In many cases, editorial coverage — which ranged from salary negotiation tips to personal essays from women who uncovered salary discrimination — served as public service announcements to readers and delineated ways to instigate change.
Both Clique Media Group and Refinery29 used the day to announce larger platforms: CMG announced it is expanding its parental leave policy, which will now provide parents — both male and female — 16 weeks of leave, in an effort to promote equality at home and in the workplace. Across its brands — which include Who What Wear, MyDomaine and Byrdie — CMG also shared a number of features related to the day to spotlight the issues and educate women on inequalities, said Kat Collings, editorial director of CMG and editor-in-chief of Who What Wear.
“Pay inequality is a serious issue, and we often hear about studies that say it will be decades before we close the gender wage gap,” Collings said. “With a strong female readership — women make up more than 90 percent of our audience — we want to empower them with stories from other inspiring women and also share actionable advice to encourage them to be their own advocates in their careers.”
At Refinery29, the editorial team launched a month-long “We Want More” campaign centered on coverage that will help women negotiate and fight inequality in various parts of their lives, beyond just equal pay. As part of its coverage, Refinery29 tapped New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to write an op-ed about why women’s rights are not up to women alone, and how men can serve as allies.
“It’s impossible to talk about women and money without thinking about the current political climate,” said Lindsay Stanberry, Refinery29’s work and money editor. “Having control of your money gives you the power to push back in bad situations, whether at home or in the workplace.”
Ruth Spencer, senior editor at The Cut, said today’s coverage expanded upon its ongoing coverage of women’s issues, which has evolved in the aftermath of the election. “Following the election, The Cut is really focused on workplace issues in a way that is more heightened than ever before. We’ve been reporting on everything from maternity leave to the pay gap, to sexual harassment. Women at work have definitely become a big focus for us.”
In honor of Equal Pay Day, Spencer said The Cut shared three articles that hit its coverage area priorities: personal stories, analysis and original reporting, and public service. The Cut kicked off the day with a story on the experience of three women asking for a raise and the challenges they faced, followed by a piece in discussion with a labor lawyer explaining what to do upon discovering salary inequities. It culminated with an article on the intersection of race and gender in salary discrimination.
“So many women don’t know that they’re paid unfairly, and if they do find out, they don’t know how to do it,” Spencer said. “We’re providing info to women for how to tackle those challenges. We’re not only covering equal pay because it’s a national awareness day. We’re covering it because it’s a priority for us all the time.”