Tuesday, April 2 is Equal Pay Day, which spotlights wage inequality across industries. The day marks how far into the next year — a full four months into the year — women have to work, on average, to make the same amount of money as men made in a given calendar year. Given that women on average earn some 80 cents for every dollar that men earn (women of color earn even less, with Black and Latina women earning an average of only 61 or 53 cents, respectively), it's clearly a major issue. But let's face it, talking about these issues can be difficult, whether that's because of discomfort in bringing it up in the first place or a lack of knowledge about some of the details. Lucky for all of us, the 50 Ways To Fight Bias card game is an easy and fun way to start the conversation. Pour the wine and start dealing, people!
You may be asking, how can a set of cards address pay inequality in real life? Well, the 50 Ways To Fight Bias project is an icebreaker card game that features real-world examples of how bias exists in the workplace, and how to address it. The project was created by organization Lean In, whose mission is to fight for gender equality and promote women's leadership. According to Lean In, the organization created the deck as a way to teach employees how to identify and respond to workplaces biases they witness and experience. So not only is this game a bonding experience, but also extremely informative. You can buy a deck from Lean In for $35, or download the free presentation.
It's pretty easy. All you have to do is draw a card from the deck, which will have a question or scenario on it. The cards range from statistics of women in leadership, to scenarios that exhibit gender bias. From there, employees try to answer each question or how they would respond to the scenario. However, if you're feeling stumped, the answers are written at the bottom of each card. Plus, under each scenario card, there's a "why it matters" explanation, which gives an insightful look into both the situation and the ways that it can affect someone's career.
Why is this game so important? First of all, talking about workplace biases can be a difficult conversation to have, especially in a crowded environment. But factors like unconscious bias around race or gender (or both) and stereotypes about population groups can stand in the way of success for women and minorities in the workplace, and contribute to the wage gap.
Before you play 50 Ways To Fight Bias, here's a quick lesson on the pay gap. According to a 2018 report from Lean In, women earn 20 percent less than men on average, and the numbers go even more down for women of color. On average, African-American women earn 38 percent less than white men and Latina women earn 46 percent less. So, clearly the pay gap exists, but apparently not everyone is aware of how serious this issue is.
According to Lean In, 1 in 3 Americans aren't aware that a pay gap exists between men and women. In addition, 75 percent of Americans think the pay gap is only a problem if women earned less than 20 percent of earnings. Well, given the statistics, it looks like we have a major problem on our hands. That's why this card game is the first step towards workplace transparency and making sure everyone is on the same page.
Hey, Equal Pay Day is depressing enough, you might as well do something good with it. So, gather up your coworkers, bring some snacks, and get ready to learn. Enjoy!