Labor Day – A Holiday for All Workers?

Labor Day is a day to recognize the contributions of American workers across all industries. It’s meant to give workers a well-earned day off to relax or get out and play.
Let’s focus on that word “all.”

According to Crunchbase data, between 2010 and 2015, 10 percent of venture money, or $31.5 billion, went to startups that reported at least one female founder. During this same time period, 17 percent of global seed/angel rounds ($2.35 billion), went to fund startups with at least one female founder.

And while equal pay for equal work is a well understood concept, there still exists a sizable gender pay gap. I’m sure you’ve heard the litany of reasons: education choices, differences in preferred job and industry, differences in the types of positions held by men and women, differences in the type of jobs men typically go into as opposed to women (especially highly paid high risk jobs), differences in amount of work experience, difference in length of the work week, and breaks in employment. Depending on who you talk to, these account for a sizable chunk of the difference but there still remains a percentage that can only be attributed to women’s unwillingness or inability to negotiate higher salaries, or outright discrimination.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in the U.S. still do a much higher percentage of the housework than men do. The cooking, cleaning and general “taking care of stuff” still falls primarily to the female partner in a hetergeneous relationship. Women now make up almost half the workforce, and in four out of ten households, women are the sole or primary breadwinner. As one of my friends once said, “It’s hard to make it to the boardroom when you are stuck in kitchen.”

Now, the good news.

Earlier this year, our home state, Massachusetts, signed into law a new sweeping equal pay bill. For example, employers can’t force prospective employees to divulge how much they were making at their last job. The change, effective in 2018, is part of a sweeping new equal pay measure. Massachusetts is one of the pioneers in mandating equal pay, passing its first such law in 1945. Now, it’s part of a national trend designed to bring women “laborers” forward. California, New York, and Maryland have also put in place protections and pay-equity laws.

So…2016, Labor Day for all? What do you think? At the very least, it’s an extra day! Enjoy!

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