For the more than 10 years, Stephanie “Taffy” Johnson worked construction and was paid half what of her male coworkers earned.
When she started working independently in the 1990s, she charged a little more than 70 percent of what male drywallers did and was a bit nervous about charging that much.
Even when she started out in construction, Johnson didn’t expect wage inequality to end in her lifetime, but she does want to see women’s work valued.
“I am so sorry to see women put down because it’s tradition, it’s patriarchy,” she said.
Johnson and about 20 other people attended a walk Friday in downtown Durango to end wage inequality.
The Women’s Resource Center held the walk to celebrate Women’s History Month, and the center has a series of other events planned to celebrate women in business, Executive Director Christy Schaerer said.
A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found women earn 83 percent of what men do. African-American women earn 65 percent of what white men earn, and Hispanic women earn 58 percent.
One of the barriers to ending inequality is the lack of transparency in the workplace when it comes to wages, said Bonnie Cabrera, who attended the walk.
“You have to be able to ask for salary information,” she said.
Otherwise, it’s impossible for women to know if they are being paid fairly, she said.
But it’s not a problem that’s limited to just women, she said.
“If an employer can get away with paying less to a vulnerable group, they will,” Cabrera said.