The Talmud teaches, “When a person robs his fellow even the value of a perutah [penny], it is as though he had taken his life away from him.” (Bava Kama 119a) While the ancient rabbis were not concerned with a gendered-based pay gap, they did understand that fair pay is the basis of human dignity in the employer-employee relationship.
Inspired by Jewish ethics and a commitment to justice, Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) and Women’s Rabbinic Network (WRN), with the support of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, are launching a new initiative to address the gender wage gap that exists in the American Jewish community, and, in particular, within Reform Movement institutions in North America.
On this Equal Pay Day, there is much to be done to bring justice to working women, including those who are employed within the Jewish community. Today’s date symbolizes the extra time when women’s earnings, on average, finally catch up to what a man earned for the same job by the end of last year. It is time to correct this inequity within our community.