Make us your home page
Instagram

Today is Equal Pay Day and in Florida, many women are fed up with the wage gap

The Business and Professional Women St. Petersburg-Pinellas chapter on Tuesday will host its 14th annual Unhappy Hour at the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse at the Sundial plaza in downtown St. Petersburg. The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., is open to anyone who wants to discuss the pay gap and how to fix it. [Photo courtesy of Business and Professional Women St. Petersburg-Pinellas chapter]

The Business and Professional Women St. Petersburg-Pinellas chapter on Tuesday will host its 14th annual Unhappy Hour at the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse at the Sundial plaza in downtown St. Petersburg. The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., is open to anyone who wants to discuss the pay gap and how to fix it. [Photo courtesy of Business and Professional Women St. Petersburg-Pinellas chapter]

Today is Equal Pay Day and women in Florida are fed up.

It has been 54 years since the Equal Pay Act became law in the United States, which states that men and women should receive equal wages for equal work. But in 2017, that's still far from reality. On average, women make 79 cents for every dollar a man earns in the United States, according to the American Association of University Women. In Florida, the gender pay gap starts at 85 cents. It widens for women of color, research shows.

What these well-cited statistics do not show is how often women are left behind when it comes to benefits, too. Women are more likely to earn less in Social Security benefits, pensions and other retirement sources than men because they are paid less.

"I don't think people really understand the effects of what a lifetime of shortage of pay really does," said Kristin Smith, a financial adviser at Raymond James in Tampa and secretary of the Business and Professional Women St. Petersburg-Pinellas chapter. "While the majority of my clients are working women these days, they still often earn less than their husbands, even when the wife is a banking executive and their husband has been in and out of work."

This evening, the Business and Professional Women St. Petersburg-Pinellas chapter will host its 14th annual Unhappy Hour at the Ruth's Chris Steak House at the Sundial plaza in downtown St. Petersburg. The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m., is open to anyone (male, female, whoever) who wants to discuss the pay gap and how to fix it.

National Equal Pay Day symbolizes how far into the next year women must work in order to earn what men earned in the previous year.

"Discussing it is of prime importance," said Smith, who said last year about 100 women turned out for the event, including students from University of South Florida's women empowerment club. "Our group's mission is to education and empower women in their professional careers. This is an issue in neutral territory that anyone can get behind, no matter how they fall on other politically charged issues."

The event began socially with a few members of the local chapter getting together on Equal Pay Day for a glass of wine in downtown St. Petersburg. It has since grown over the past 14 years into a much larger group.

"I don't think I've seen the needle move on the pay gap barely at all in the 14 years we've put on this event," Smith said. "The first year, I think it was 76 cents and now we're at 79? Clearly there's still a problem."

While the state's pay gap between the sexes is smaller than in other states, Florida women are poorer and have less access to health care than most states, according to a recent study commissioned by the Florida Women's Funding Alliance, a group affiliated with the Florida Philanthropic Network.

The study, conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, found that 15.4 percent of women over 18 live in poverty in Florida, which is in the bottom third of the country. As of 2014, the state ranked 50th in the nation for the number of women who are considered "non-elderly" who had health insurance coverage with 78.3 percent. The national average is 85.4 percent.

Contact Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Unhappy Hour for Equal Pay Day

Tonight, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Ruth's Chris Steak House, 131 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg

Cost: The public is invited to attend this free event. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available.

Today is Equal Pay Day and in Florida, many women are fed up with the wage gap 04/04/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 4, 2017 5:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump shuts down CEO advisory councils as main group acts to disband

    Business

    President Donald Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded on Wednesday following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them. Soon after, the president announced on Twitter that he would end his executive councils, "rather than …

    President Donald Trump meets with Merck's chief executive, Kenneth Frazier, second from left, and other leaders of the pharmaceutical industry in the Roosevelt Room of the White House last January. On Wednesday, Trump's main council of top corporate leaders disbanded following the president's controversial remarks in which he equated white nationalist hate groups with the protesters opposing them.
[New York Times file photo]
  2. A long-awaited vision for Tampa's Westshore Marina District

    Real Estate

    TAMPA —Eleven years after plans to develop a waterfront tract on the Tampa side of the Gandy Bridge were first announced, a new rendering gives a hint of what Westshore Marina District ultimately will look like.

    Rendering of Marina Pointe, a condo project overlooking Tampa Bay as part of the Westshore Marina District. [Courtesy of Masterfile Corp.}
  3. Buddy Brew Coffee to open downtown Tampa location

    Business

    TAMPA — Buddy Brew Coffee plans to open a new location in downtown Tampa at Park Tower in early 2018. The specialty coffee craft roaster, which was founded in 2010, has five other locations throughout Tampa including the Oxford Exchange, Sarasota, Hyde Park Village and Terminal F inside the Tampa International …

    A cappuccino is displayed at Buddy Brew in Tampa in January 2017. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.
  5. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder on Wednesday further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    Vishal Mahtani (left), vice president of business development, Alexis Grant (center), executive editor, and Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, celebrate the news with their staff  Wednesday of making the new Inc. 5000 ranking of fastest growing companies in the country. They enjoyed champagne during a catered lunch at their office in downtown St. Petersburg after ranking 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times ]