University supports closing wage gap

By Lisa Lillianstrom

Women work hard for their money but get paid less than men despite doing the same job, which is why it is so important NIU hosted “Closing The Gender Pay Gap.”

The event was attended mostly by faculty with a low student turnout. More students should attend events like these in the future, as they are the generation that could change the gap.

The event was 11:30 a.m., Friday in the Chandelier Room at Davis Hall.

One of the most important things talked about during the event was concerning what women can do to get equal pay.

Female nurse practitioners and physician assistants make 87 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. In both specialties, women earn around $17,000 less per year than men, according to the 2018 Salary Survey at Clinical Advisor.

Women need to be educated on how to stand up for themselves and fight for the pay they deserve. Less pay it not something women should settle for.

“We have this event to try to circulate to everyone on campus how important it is for women to be aware of their power to negotiate for more money on the table,” Laura Vazquez, chair of Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, said.

Workshops called Smart Start are also offered by NIU on various dates to help students learn important negotiation skills intended to help them start strong in the workforce. It is important women have a voice and know they are important and worthy of equal pay. As events are announced, they can be found on the NIU website under the events section.

In the U.S., women working full-time are paid just about 80 percent of what men are paid, a gap of 20 percent, according to the American Association of University Women.

“I wanted to help my students be in a better place to negotiate their salaries upon graduation,” associate history professor Christina Abreu said. “I want all students to keep an eye on the workshops they can attend in the upcoming semester.”

The fact this gap still exists is alarming, and employers should be doing more to shrink that gap until it disintegrates.

Based on the events provided, it is clear the NIU administration wants to do what it can to help students be prepared enough to close the gap.

One can only hope in the future the pay gap will simply be something in the past. There needs to be less talk and more action; nothing gets done by sitting around waiting for something to happen.

“The gender pay gap is persistent, and it is our responsibility to help close it by advocating for ourselves,” history professor Anne Hanley said.