On April 4, a massive crowd of students and faculty from Seton Hill University congregated outside the Greensburg courthouse to demonstrate for Equal Pay Day. Commuters and spectators were met with chants and cheers brought forth from the picket sign-wielding congregation. Soon after the crowd began their protest, Karen Glass, assistant professor of theatre at SHU, presented numerous tambourines, thus amplifying the voice of the demonstrators. Members of the SHU Feminist Collective were seen leading the organized chants that echoed through the streets of downtown Greensburg. Bibiana Boerio, SHU alumna who served as interim president of the university from 2013-14, was a guest speaker at the rally along with Mae Palacios, representative of the BlackBurn Center.
April 4 is set aside as a day to raise awareness of the pay gap that resides within the United States’ economic system. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), women in America earn about 77 cents for every dollar a man would make for doing the same job. While this wage gap varies for each state, with Wyoming being at a 64 percent ratio and New York being at 89 percent, women are nonetheless reported to be getting paid less due to their gender.
Additionally, it is reported that women of non-caucasian descent have an even larger gap in their paychecks. Sandbox Networks Inc. released statistics in 2013, indicating that black women on average make 64 cents for doing the same job as a white man. The gap for Hispanic women is listed as even lower, with that number being a 54 to 100 percent ratio. Equal Pay Day is a time in which both men and women come together to protest the wage cuts that occur on both a sexual and racial level.
Demonstrations in response to issues such as the American pay gap serve as a reminder to what it means to be a Setonian. SHU’s Catholic identity statement explains that, “…all of creation is sacred, that human beings made in the image of God have an incomparable worth and dignity, and that they are called to share with God through their graced actions in the world in the building of a more just and compassionate world.” As Setonians, we are called to defend the fundamental human rights that are entitled to every man and woman. Equal Pay Day serves as an example of how one can act upon the Setonian way by seeking the well-being and prosperity of all people.
Published By: Paige Parise