Baking for equality: Campus Women’s Organization fights the gender wage gap

By Kyle Kramer

Who knew a bake sale could protest gender discrimination?

Pitt’s Campus Women’s… Who knew a bake sale could protest gender discrimination?

Pitt’s Campus Women’s Organization sold brownies, cupcakes and cookies yesterday to raise awareness for the gender wage gap — symbolically charging women 75 cents for every man’s dollar on baked goods.

Joy Horner, president of the organization, said a former member who graduated came up with the idea.

“We didn’t even think about it,” Horner said.

“It’s part of our socialization,” member Keely McCaskie added.

McCaskie said this kind of socialization is the conditioning of women to believe in a “Cinderella situation.”

Edie Cook, president of the Fox Chapel area branch of the American Association of University Women, spoke to about 20 women and a man on the socialization of women last night at the William Pitt Union.

Cook said one of the biggest obstacles to women in the work place today is the illusion that “if I’m good, if I work hard enough, I will be awarded.”

“Men ask for things women don’t even realize they can ask for,” she said.

Cook described her first experience with the gender wage gap.

She said she was training a new hire for her employer of five years. In the course of her training, she discovered her trainee was making significantly more than her.

She mentioned it to her boss — who gave her a raise of $130 that same week.

Lauren Baines, the organization’s vice president, said there was another reason for the wage gap.

“Its because we have vaginas,” she said.

The group proceeded to discuss how the overlap of prime promotional years in the business world with prime conceiving years in the biological world could be an impediment to women’s progress in closing the wage gap.

Members of the organization encouraged attendees to write letters to state senators before they went home. They hope the letters will express the support of the pending equal pay legislation.

The event was especially relevant to Pennsylvania, which is currently ranked 43rd in discrepancy between men’s wages and women’s wages, said Robin Lane, the group’s political action chair.

Pennsylvania has an earnings gap of 73 percent between men and women, according to the American Association of University Women.

Despite the choice of a bake sale to raise awareness, Horner insisted the group was not comprised of “home-makers.”

“I was proud the brownies. My first batch was horrible.”