Data shows that 24% of the 21 million Americans making minimum wage are working in retail, and 64% of those are women.
We Americans live in a culture that is work driven. We pour ourselves into our jobs, working long hours and sometimes several part-time jobs just to make ends meet. It is estimated that as many as 21 million Americans earn less than $10 an hour, half of those 21 million are between the ages of 21-34. We hear it everyday-- tough economic times have called for us to tighten of our belts and for companies to control costs. With the average American graduating from with college $27,000 in student loans, and facing an extremely competitive job market, many people entering the workforce choose jobs in retail.
So why does this matter? Data shows that 24% of the 21 million Americans making minimum wage are working in retail, and 64% of those are women. And for women, pay equality remains a challenge—women on average earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man does. We at Gap want to change this pattern. We are making a commitment to invest in more than 65,000 Gap employees by increasing the hourly minimum wage in our retail stores. As a company founded by Don and Doris Fisher, who each invested equal amount of money to start Gap in 1969, we are leading the charge on equal pay. Now, as then, women earn on average the exact same wages as men. When we invest in our employees, we empower them to pursue their dreams, be it an education, starting their own business down the road, or moving up within the Gap family. We want them to succeed, because our young people are our future.
I wrote a post to kick off the partnership with GOOD earlier this year. I shared our desire at Gap to celebrate people taking action to do more with the GOOD 100 and our One Stitch Closer video series. Throughout the year we created pieces on empowering women and even had influential women write letters to their younger self. It’s been a year of doing more, and as we celebrate our 45th Birthday this month, let’s share the message of the importance of fair employee compensation and commit to each other in the future. So join us and #letsdomore GOOD!