Beth Castle is the managing editor at InHerSight. Based in Durham, she writes about women in the workforce as well as Southern travel, tourism, arts and culture, and food.
In a surprising turn of events, on April 1, just one day before Equal Pay Day, the gender pay gap closed in the United States, an event not expected to occur across all 50 states for more than 100 years.
“Our business model was originally built on paying women at least 20 percent less than their male counterparts well into the 22nd century,” said Sean VanIsm, owner of a Wyoming oil company. “But when I woke up on April 1, I thought to myself, ‘There’s no better day than today to offer those little ladies a seat at the table.’”
The gap is said to have affected women of all industries and ethnicities. On average, women were paid 80 cents to every man’s dollar—a number that, when broken down by race, was even lower for most women of color. In total, women were said to have lost more than $500 billion in the U.S. every year.
But on Monday, when employers like VanIsm realized how very shitty that is, they decided to, as CEO Juan Percent put it, “splurge.” “I don’t think 20 cents less is that much really,” Percent said. “But I’ll give the girls their gumball.”
Experts tracking the gap said it closed around 7:30 a.m. Eastern, just as many women were packing lunches for their hard-working husbands. “I’m really happy to hear the gap has closed for good,” said Hattie Tall while waiting in her kids’ carpool line. “Now all I have to worry about is balancing my full-time job with the unpaid work I do outside the office.”
When told this was all simply an April Fool’s joke, Tall was not surprised given, well, America, and she asked if InHerSight could give her more information on how the equal pay affects her.
Lucky for Tall, and for you, InHerSight will be sharing information on the gender pay gap all month long. Starting April 2 (Equal Pay Day), we’re releasing our own proprietary data on equal pay. In the weeks following, you’ll be able to read all about its effects on women of color, mothers, and even companies (yes, it affects them, too) thanks to our contributors.