Should I, a female founder with an all-female staff, ignore Equal Pay Day? After all, I am fully aware of the pay gap (and the glass ceiling!). In fact, it is one of the reasons why I staff a team of all killer women. I kept thinking, ‘Yes, it’s an important movement, but what could I possibly add to it? I’m already a big believer in equal pay!’ I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind.
It wasn’t until I saw, of all things, a food ad that got my mind racing. Usually, I buy food like the rest of my entrepreneurial friends -- whatever I can buy in a hurry that has a long expiration date and that won’t completely rot in my apartment. We are excellent at starting companies, but not so excellent at cooking!
However, I saw that LUNA, in partnership with Lean In, will be discounting their products by 20% this month to drive awareness to the wage gap. For every bar purchased, a matched donation will be made to fund wage negotiation workshops. My mind couldn’t stop racing. I thought, ‘You mean to say that even the smallest, under $5 decisions that I make in a day can aid in causes I believe in?!’
It was then that I realized that Equal Pay Day is a movement that stretches well beyond a paycheck. It’s a movement that expands into the quality of living for women, and what decisions we make with the companies we support, practices we put in place as leaders, and brands with whom we interact. I thought about it more and realized that I had been part of the Equal Pay Day movement for equality for years, but never thought of myself as much.
For my company, ZinePak, it was important to my co-founder Brittany and I that we provide healthcare for our employees as soon as possible. As working women, we knew what a stress it was to have to worry about annual checkups, medical appointments, and making sure your family was being taken care of, and provided for in times of need.
We knew we had to make healthcare a priority. So, as a result, we delayed hiring more members for our growing team, something we were advised against, so that we could take that money and put it toward providing healthcare for our employees. For Brittany and I, while it was about growing the company, it was also about taking care of the employees who were in the weeds day in and day out doing just that!
How could we expect them to sacrifice so much of their lives when we wouldn’t sacrifice for them? We were proud to offer full healthcare within one year of hiring our first employee. It was then we realized that the decisions we had the power to make as leaders in business truly affected the lives of those around us. It’s why the decisions we continue to make, no matter how small, can also help movements we believe in.
I’m excited to see companies like LUNA standing up for women’s causes; where they are sacrificing money, just like we did, for the greater good. It’s examples like these that make me realize I can’t ignore Equal Pay Day, simply because I am a female employing all females. Equal Pay Day is all around me in the decisions I make as a boss and as a consumer with the brands I support, products I buy, and companies with whom I choose to interact.
What’s empowering to fully realize is that I have the ability to continue to make decisions, whether in my business or out of my wallet, that will help other females live the best standard of life possible. So, for all of the ladies out there like me who already thought they were ‘doing all they could do,’ just remember:
There’s always one more decision, even one as simple as food, that is right around the corner. Which way will you choose?
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Kim Kaupe is the co-founder of ZinePak, a custom publication company that creates engaging fan packages for entertainers, brands, and celebrities. She graduated with a B.A. in marketing from the University of Florida and roots loyally for her Gators. Most recently, she was named one of Inc.’s 35 [...]