Marilynn Barber

Tuesday, April 10 is Equal Pay Day.   What is it and why the red dress?

Blog Post created by Marilynn Barber on Apr 8, 2018

This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.  The day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.  And the wage gap is even greater for most women of color. 


There are many ways you can get involved in the movement, but one way you can take personal responsibility is to be certain you always look like the role you're in and the role you want to BE in.  Humans are visual creatures and we make instant judgments about people’s capabilities based purely on the image.  It’s called the Halo Effect, a type of cognitive bias in which our overall impression of a person influences how we feel and think about his or her character.  "She's fun, so she must be smart!"  


So every day you are at work, it’s critical that your clothing supports your ‘brand image’ – the qualities and value that you bring to the work every day.  Being comfortable is good, but being respected and valued is better for your career.  Strategically using the subliminal signaling of your clothing is a constant reminder of what you uniquely bring to the work.  Plus, when your clothes make you feel strong and confident, you can continue the work on this issue.


It’s been suggested women wear red on Equal Pay Day to symbolize how long we’ve “been in the red” for the year. 


If you or your company, organization, or association would like me to offer a refresher course for your women’s groups, please contact me and I’ll be happy to customize.  Each business culture has its unique demands, but there are clothing options out there for every women.  I do realize this isn't purely an image issue, but looking like you're in the game is the best way to start.  It's too easy to just settle for just wearing any 'ole thing to the office.  But that doesn't illustrate your best qualities.  You've got to get your foot in the conversation to make an impact.


Why? Why? Why should we do this?  Because you’re worth it!