Pennsylvania Company Fights Wage Gap By Charging Women What They Earn
Yesterday was National Equal Pay Day. And it was yesterday in Pittsburgh that a striking event took place to bring awareness to the wage gap between men and women. Less Than 100, otherwise known as <100, set up the 76<100 pop-up shop, which will be selling goods through April at a lower price for women or those who identify as female.
Established by graphic designer and Gratuitous Type art director Elana Schlenker, and supported by Planned Parenthood, among others, the organization is a grassroots project that seeks to rectify pay inequality across the nation. <100 dramatically addresses the wage gap by providing a discount for women. The specific rate depends on the locale. For instance, at the initial Pittsburgh shop, women pay 76 cents to the dollar, while men pay the full buck. As the project moves across the country, future pop-ups will be priced according to the state’s median wage gap, as none of the states have an average salary that is equal between the sexes.
“Even though the shop is based on a negative statistic, I wanted it to be a positive space,” says Schlenker.
The organization is not-for-profit, with most of the proceeds going directly to the artists and makers whose goods are purchased in their shop. (Five percent of the total revenue goes to shop upkeep.) <100 participants describe themselves as purveyors of art prints, stationery, publications, textiles, ceramics, and “other exceptional goods created by women artists and makers from across the U.S.”
BuzzFeed reports that Schlenker wants “to try to get a number of permanent businesses involved in this pricing structure,” and hosts free events such as Negation Workshops and other activities with participating artists in order to engage local leaders and women-run businesses.
The <100 strategy joins a surge of similarly progressive, attention-grabbing projects. It is a sister movement to “Fight for $15,” which argues for a higher living wage for workers, as well as the “No Catcall Zones” initiative, which earlier this week distributed posters in Manhattan and Brooklyn that were designed by Feminist Apparel to protest street harassment.
In the fall, <100 will be heading to New Orleans, where the wage gap is 66 cents to $1.00 — much worse than the national average of a 22 percent disparity between the salaries of women and men.