Demonstrators protest gender wage gap in U.P.

HOUGHTON — The gender wage gap persists and they want something done about it. That’s the message from a group of demonstrators in Houghton. ABC 10’s Rick Allen has the story.

It’s Equal Pay Day and, here on the campus of Michigan Tech, faculty and students are making their voices heard.

Demonstrators from the Society of Women Engineers and the Copper Country League of Women Voters gathered wearing red to promote their message.

Michigan Tech student Leah Bectel is with the Society of Women Engineers and the Copper Country League of Women Voters. She said, “Wearing red means that we are in the red with our pay. So, I’m wearing red today, saying that when I get out at my job, there’s a chance that I’ll be in the red with my pay and that a guy in the same exact job will be making more than I do.”

April 12th is chosen as the day to bring awareness to this issue because it is said to represent how many more days a woman would have to work to get the same pay as a man for the exact same job.

According to reports women are on average earning about 79 percent of what a man makes. In high paying jobs like engineering that gap could add up to more that $400,000 over a career.

Bectel said, “We want people to be aware that, although we’re an engineering school, we have great jobs, we go to college—women are still making less in these engineering positions and these STEM positions. Awareness needs to be raised.

Legislation has been introduced in Lansing to address this issue, but so far no action has been taken on it.