On Tuesday, April 12, The Works Bakery in downtown Durham had a 21 percent discount off all items on its menu for paying female customers. The Works did this in honor of National Equal Pay Day.
By 12:30 p.m., the line for The Works was out the door and consisted of mostly female customers.
The general manager of this location, Dawn Drew, explained that The Works saw not only an increase in business, but also that the customers were predominantly female.
“It was a great day. It compared to a graduation day at UNH, that’s how big of a day it was,” Drew said.
The Works was filled with local residents, students and faculty.
Among the customers was a member of the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, Amy Sterndale, who was out to lunch with friends in honor of the discount.
“This is the saddest day of the year,” Sterndale said. “It represents how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.”
“It’s been a problem that’s been around for a really long time, decades I would say,” Don Brueggemann, manager of The Works in Concord told New Hampshire Public Radio. “And I think many of us thought it would kind of work itself out but it has been very persistent over the years. We’re feeling like this is a way to highlight that issue.”
Representative Jackie Cilley, who has worked both in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and Senate was also present for the event. Cilley is currently serving her second year in a four-year term as a representative for New Hampshire.
Cilley’s work as a representative has been focused mainly on the wage gap and creating a livable wage for workers. Cilley expresses that events like these are important because they spread awareness.
“It calls attention to it. When people understand an issue they begin to mobilize. It puts the focus squarely on the fact that this is occurring,” Cilley said.
Cilley said the economy would boom across the board if people championed more for equal pay, and that many don’t realize what the consequences of this gap are.
“The implications are massive. White women lose somewhere around half a million a year, Black women workers closer to 800,000, and for Hispanic women it is over a million,” Cilley said.
Cilley said The Works is an organization dedicated to this movement, and that this discount is not just an attempt to gain more customers.
“This company is dedicated to payment equality,” Cilley said. “This is not just a publicity stunt for The Works. It’s how they live. It’s how they run their business.”
Drew confirmed this sentiment explaining that the owners of the bakery prove their loyalty in standing for equal pay in the way they hire both their workers and their managers.
“The owners wanted to get involved to show their support,” Drew said. “It’s an issue they’re very passionate about.”
One male student, Christian Tortora, who was in attendance with a female friend, wasn’t angry that the discount didn’t apply to him.
“It’s great for women and their advancement,” Tortora said. “It proves that the fight can start at something like a local business such as this one.”