A handful of Little Rock businesses will be reducing their prices by 25 percent for female shoppers on Tuesday in support of national Equal Pay Day.
Abby Olivier, a member of the Arkansas Equal Pay Coalition, says the idea of charging women less reflects current Arkansas earning statistics.
“The Institute for Women’s Policy Research – they just put out an extensive report on the status of women in the south – this came out just this past February. According to this report women in Arkansas earn 75% compared to men,” Olivier said.
But Dan Greenberg, president of the Advance Arkansas Institute, a think tank that advocates for smaller government, believes the state’s wage gap isn’t as big as described and can mostly be explained by different life choices made by men and women.
“There are people who are much more interested in having a private life and thinking more about their families and their children. And if it’s the case that this kind of attitude is held more by women than by men, well there’s an extent to which that’s a choice that ought to be respected. And there’s an extent to which that could create some kind of pay inequality that perhaps deserves respect and is not a matter of injustice.”
Greenberg believes the 23 cent difference, often quoted as the national wage gap, is probably more like 5 to 7 cents if different career choices and length of time spent in the workforce are factored in.
At the time of this report, businesses who have agreed to reduce prices for female shoppers on April 12 are Zin Urban Wine & Beer Bar, River City Coffee, Flyway Brewing, Sweet Candy & Gifts, Red Mango – Little Rock, Loblolly Creamery, Muse & Render.
The Little Rock observance coincides with a national awareness campaign being led by the American Association of University Women.