Equal Pay Day: Raising awareness about the wage gap and how women can eliminate it

March 24 is National Equal Pay Day. It symbolizes how far into the new year the average woman has to work to be paid what the average white man was paid the previous year. In Florida, for every dollar the average woman working full-time earns, a man earns over a third more.

Equal Pay Day started back in 1996, and it changes year-to-year depending on how the wage gap changes.

Twenty years into her career, Jacksonville attorney, Jennifer Mansfield, says she still deals with implicit bias. So, she wants to educate others and empower women to demand what they’re worth.

Action News Jax found some local counties have a wider pay gap than others.

Mansfield believes salaries should be the same for qualified applicants, and she wants women to demand change.

She worked for a federal judge before becoming an attorney at Holland & Knight in downtown Jacksonville, where she’s been the past 20 years. And even she still deals with implicit bias in the courtroom.

“To this day, I’m asked at hearings and depositions if I’m the court reporter instead of the attorney,” she said with a smirk of disbelief.

She wants to change the narrative. So, as part of the Jacksonville women’s leadership forum, she’s empowering women in our community to demand what they’re worth.

“I think that you have to be a hard negotiator,” she added.

Across our region, Duval County has the biggest wage gap of 84.7%. That’s followed by Clay County at 76.8%, St. Johns County at 74.2%, and Nassau County at 74.2%.

So, when it comes down to equally qualified applicants, Mansfield wants employers to think twice before shortchanging women.

“They really should be offering to pay the same amount,” she said. “And if they’re not doing that, they need to ask themselves why.”

If you have concerns over unfair pay, you can file a complaint with the Department of Labor.

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