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This Artist Found A Unique Solution To The Wage Gap Problem

posted: 04/16/15
by: TLC

This week was National Equal Pay Day, a day to acknowledge -- and hopefully work to change the fact that women are still making, on average, 77 cents to every dollar that men are making. And that can really add up. On average, women make around $530,000 less than men over a lifetime, according to a study from the Institute for Women's Policy Research. The disparity is even more extreme for college-educated women, who earn, on average, around $800,000 less than men over a lifetime than comparably qualified men.

Which is why one woman decided to create the 76<100 project, a pop-up shop where women and men pay according to what they make.

Founded by artist and activist Elana Schlenker, 76<100 aims to highlight how women are given short shrift by charging women just 76 percent for any retail item in her shop, while men are expected to pay full price. (In Pennsylvania, women earn 76 cents to every man's dollar). The shop sells items made by independent women artists, designers, and makers, including Grace Danico, Saide Barnette, and Tuesday Bassen, and functions as a nonprofit, with all proceeds going directly to the artists.

My view this weekend. #lessthan100shop ???

A photo posted by elanaschlenker (@elanaschlenker) on

"It's incredible how deeply unconscious biases still permeate the ways in which we perceive (and value) women versus men," said Schlenker of the project. "I hope the shop's pricing helps to underscore this inherent unfairness and to create space for people to consider why the wage gap still exists."

And Schlenker is taking the project on the road. <76's next stop is New Orleans, which happens to rank at the very bottom of the wage gap poll; women there make only 66 cents to every male dollar. If you're wondering what state is tops on the list, it's actually Washington D.C. where women are only nine cents behind men. Which is still pretty far behind equal pay.