Equal Pay Day resonates with women, students in Iowa

Equal Pay Day is the day women make the same wage as their male counterparts, the only problem is it's months into the following year.

We're 93 days into 2017 and women have finally earned what men earned last year.

April 4 is Equal Pay Day and Iowa women are familiar with the deficit, since the state ranks 16th largest cents-on-the-dollar gap in the nation.

University of Iowa student Mackenzie Koehler decided to put her money where her mouth is and start the American Association of University Women chapter at her school.

Her organization uses the pay gap to cultivate empowerment.

"We're hoping to educate the university population, men and women, on how to educate themselves on the pay gap, how to negotiate salary, how to be prepared," Koehler said.

In a release, AAUW stated that women who earn college degrees are less able than men to pay off those loans because they'll only earn about 80 cents to every dollar.

Women of color earn less than that.

Iowa Women Lead Change, or IWLC, is at the forefront of EPIC, a new statewide initiative to hold businesses accountable for equity.

"If you don't measure it, it isn't important," Diane Ramsey, CEO, said. "What we're trying to do is get organizations to say 'you know what we're gonna commit and we're gonna track to see where we are.'"

Ramsey said women have a job to do, too.

"Know what you're worth," Ramsey said. "A lot of women and men don't do any research upfront, so if someone offers you a salary and it's below the market price and you accept it, you are creating that gap for yourself."

Education is an important aspect, but leaders said reaching out to legislators to advocate for yourself is encouraged.

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