Plano de Menina (Girl’s Plan), a social initiative whose goal is to give a voice and opportunities to underprivileged girls throughout Brazil, offering courses and workshops on financial education, entrepreneurship, career building, self-esteem, law, citizenship, and other subjects, created the #EqualPay movement in partnership with BETC/Havas, in order to call on public institutions, employers and society at large to reflect on and promote positive initiatives that contribute to making equal pay between men and women a reality.
Research shows that for women to earn the same as men, they need to begin their professional life 10 years earlier. The unfairness of this situation is evidenced through the character Heloisa Teodoro, a 10-year-old Plano de Menina student. In the campaign, the girl questions recruiters from various companies about male privilege and asks: “Do you think that’s fair?”
The recruiters are left speechless when challenged by a girl who, together with thousands of other Plano de Menina girls, started the #EqualPay movement seeking to secure the same rights and equal pay for women, calling on all Brazilians to unite to make this future possible, so that women can enter the job market at the right time and receive the same salaries and opportunities as men.
“We began the #EqualPay movement with thousands of girls who are part of our project, calling on all girls and the adults responsible for them, throughout Brazil, to join us in our struggle for change and a future where women have the same opportunities as men. Plano de Menina prepares girls to take their rightful places in society and take charge of their lives. But are companies and society prepared to give them their due and value their potential? We need to talk about this and seek positive initiatives together in order to promote this change, which will lead to many positive results for society. A girl who is financially independent can change for the better, not only her own life, but the lives of those around her and the GDP of her country,” stated Viviane Duarte, founder of Projeto de Menina, which is becoming an Institute this month.
In Brazil, women in all social classes still earn less than men, even when doing the same jobs, with the same – or even greater – competence. According to data from the Nationwide Continuous Survey by Household Sampling (Pnad), conducted in the 4th quarter of 2018 and released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the unemployment rate during the period was 11.6%, with significant differences between men (10.1%) and women (13.5%).
This difference was found in all five regions of the country, with the North region standing out for the greatest difference between men and women (22.9 percentage points), and the South with the lowest (17.7 percentage points).
A 2018 report titled “Stagnated Country,” by Oxfam Brazil, which examined socio-economic inequality in Brazil with data from 2017, showed that pay differences between men and women exist across all social and economic classes.
According to the study, women are paid on average 70% of what men are paid. This means that women receive 30% less while paying the same taxes and unemployment contributions for the same jobs.
In the section of the study that looks at the poorer half of Brazil’s population, women’s income was found to be equivalent to 75% of the male average. Within the richest class, the population with the top 10% income, this discrepancy was ever greater. In 2017, women in this category earned an equivalent of 60% of what men earned, while in 2016, it was 69%.
The researchers asserted that the cultural structure of Brazil, misogyny, and discrimination were the main reasons for this disparity. When looking specifically at black women, the numbers are even more alarming and the disparity even more cruel.
According to the study “The Challenge of Inclusion,” by the Locomotiva Institute, released in 2017, the average salary of black women with a college degree was 2,900 BRL per month. For comparison, white women were found to earn 3,800 BRL, while black men earn 4,800 BRL, and white men, 6,700 BRL.
The Equal Pay Movement began this week, and will promote events with employers and companies, as well as public policy activation initiatives, among other activities, throughout the year, in order to encourage companies and government organisations to join the cause and foster change.
“It’s an honour for BETC to participate in this movement alongside Plano. The disparity in pay between men and women is a sad reality for all markets, and it’s urgent that we do something to change this situation. We hope to bring this problem to light with this project and inspire people and companies to take action and promote equality.”