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Davison speaks to BPW on Equal Pay Day

May 2, 2012
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Community editor ( , The Herald-Star

The Ohio Valley Business and Professional Women will wrap up their meeting season on May 15 when the organization gathers at the Best Western Plus University Inn to tend to two key business items.

That would include awarding the three scholarships it does annually: one to a high school student going on to college; one specifically to a Nike Club member at Steubenville High School since the Nike Club is the BPW's sister organization; and one to a nontraditional student.

And the dinner meeting that begins at 6 p.m. also will include the installation of officers, with the slate announced when the group held its April meeting.

Article Photos

Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison, center, guest speaker, with Ohio Valley Business and Professional Women leaders Shannon Minch-Hughes, right, president, and Phyllis Riccadonna,
president-elect of the Ohio Business and Professional Women come June 1.
-- Janice R. Kiaski

Julie Daley, a financial adviser with Brokerage United, will take the reins as president of the OVBPW. Joining her are Shannon Minch-Hughes, vice president; Sara Provenzano, treasurer; and Mary Lou Jones, secretary.

Cathy Davison, Steubenville's city manager, was the speaker at the April 17 meeting, the day that was Equal Pay Day.

The date symbolized how far into 2012 - 4.5 extra months - that women must work to earn what men earned in 2011, Minch-Hughes said as she introduced Davison.

The observance was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.

It's the day when women are encouraged to wear red or carry a red purse - the color a reminder of how far women and minorities are "in the red" when it comes to their pay.

Davison began her comments with a thought from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, one of her favorite women leaders: "Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be near to understanding the problems of running a country or any corporation."

Davison said, "I believe Prime Minister Thatcher knew her stuff we as women are examples of consistency and strength with an ability to run a home corporation and any business, country or city if the opportunity is given."

Nationally, women who work full time are paid 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, according to Davison. For African-American women, it's 62 cents and for Hispanic women, it's 54 cents.

With the gap closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, women's pay won't catch up to men's for another 40 years given that rate, Davison said.

She also quoted Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who said women are the most significant economic engine in the country. Pay women equally, and it would raise the GDP (gross domestic product) by up to 9 percent.

"Women working full time year round in the U.S. earn a median annual salary of $36,931, compared to men's $47,715. That means American women earn $10,784 less than men each year. A National Partnership analysis shows that if that gap were closed, women in the state of Washington could buy an additional 1.7 years' worth of food; Colorado's working women could afford 2,746 more gallons of gas; women in Wisconsin could afford 14 more months of rent; and Connecticut women could pay for 3.7 years' worth of family health insurance premiums," Davison said.

Another Thatcher quote Davison shared with the group was "If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman."

Women by nature are planners, organizers and doers, Davison said. "We don't let projects sit - we move them forward," she said, offering the group some tips on creating a balance between work and life.

The April meeting also included the announcement that Phyllis Riccadonna will be installed as the state of Ohio BPW president in May 2013 during the state conference in Canton, and that the club agreed to donate $250 to sponsor one child to attend the Salvation Army summer camp at Leesville Lake.

The Ohio Valley BPW is open to working or retired women for education, networking and lobbying. It meets September through May on the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Best Western Plus University Inn Steubenville.

The meetings include dinner and guest speakers whose topics range from social networking to customer service to financial issues.

For information call Minch-Hughes, president, by phone at (740) 283-2484 or by e-mail

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