When it comes to fair pay, “Don’t just be an ally. Be a co-conspirator.”

April 5. 2019
Noreen Farrell


As we raise awareness about the gender wage gap this week for Equal Pay Day 2019, I’ve been thinking about what a difference a few years make in the fight for fair pay. Women workers calling out pay disparities based on gender and race, like Lilly Ledbetter and Aileen Rizo, have reached rock star status on the covers of mainstream magazines. And joining them as partners is a new crop of fair pay advocates from Corporate America.

This week, 13 California corporations — including Salesforce, Apple, and Square —pledged to adopt practices to address gender biases in hiring, promotions, and salaries. Rather than waiting for the law to tell them how to be ethical employers, they’re proactively using their positions of power, privilege, and influence to set an example for others.

Ultimately, the best way to encourage Corporate America to use its privilege for good is to set an example by spending privilege in our own lives.

ERA is helping them do just that. On Tuesday, we joined First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the California Commission on the Status of Women, and Time’s Up to share new guides with concrete fair pay best practices, authored by the Pay Equity Task Force, which includes ERA’s Legal Director Jennifer Reisch, other worker advocates, and employers.

Next up? We ask California employers to join the fair pay movement by passing Senate Bill 171, introduced this month as part of the Stronger California Women’s Economic Security Agenda.

Ultimately, the best way to encourage Corporate America to use its privilege for good is to set an example by spending privilege in our own lives. We must be not just allies, but accomplices and co-conspirators with our trans and nonbinary co-workers, co-workers with disabilities, the women of color we work with, and those in the lowest paid positions at our workplaces.

We must put our privilege on the line, because, as the brilliant Brittany Packnett says, “Marginalized people live risk daily by their very existence. If you possess privilege of any kind, it is your responsibility to spend that privilege. Put it up at risk to protect the very people who are suffering most.”

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