Seattle-area businesses, including MI Athletic Club, participate in Equal Pay Day

Over a 40-year career, unequal pay can cost a woman anywhere from $400,000 to $1 million.

The gender pay gap disadvantages women and impacts families’ abilities to buy groceries, pay for child care and invest in their children’s education, according to a press release from LeanIn.Org, the women’s nonprofit founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Equal Pay Day represents the amount of time it takes for women to catch up to a man’s earnings. Women — on average — have to work until April 4, 2017, to earn what men earned by Dec. 31, 2016. is launching #20PercentCounts, a campaign to raise awareness that women are paid 20 percent less than men in the U.S. on average. If the pay gap is broken down by race and ethnicity, black women are paid 37 percent less and Hispanic women are paid 46 percent less than men. In support of the campaign, LUNA, Lyft, P&G, Salesforce and businesses in 25 U.S. cities have joined forces with LeanIn.Org to offer 20 percent discounts.

A local Lean In Circle in Seattle got businesses in the area to participate in the campaign, including MI Athletic Club in Mercer Island, Get Zen Hot Yoga in Bellevue and Red Door, Sell Your Sole Consignment Boutique and Visette Boutique in Seattle.

For the Seattle-metro region, based on the most recent data available from 2015, the wage gap is 81 percent.

“Equal pay is essential to the goal of gender equality,” Sandberg stated. “This issue speaks to how we value women’s labor, knowledge, time, training and so much more. In short, it’s about women’s worth.”

Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) is the lead sponsor of the Equal Pay Opportunity Act (HB 1506). She, along with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell, posted about #EqualPayDay on social media.

To participate in the campaign and help raise awareness of the gender pay gap, people are encouraged to post #20PercentCounts on social media. Visit to watch the campaign video and learn more about the gender pay gap.

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