Last week, when students went to Sundance Books, they could buy more than just their textbooks for the semester. Along with stacks of academic knowledge, students found fresh cookies, biscotti, and other baked goods for sale.
From Jan. 16 to the 18, members of the Geneseo chapter of National Organization of Women (NOW) set up a bake sale just outside the entrance of Sundance. "It was cold, it was snowing, but there were girls bundled up and selling cookies," said sophomore Alicia Dezik. These women stood out in the cold, not only to raise money for a good cause, but to educate the public on the issue of pay inequity in the work force.
For the bake sale, men had to dig a little deeper into their pockets than women. The goods were priced at $1 for men and $0.76 for women, and the price difference was no accident. In America today, statistics show that women make $0.76 for every dollar men earn in the workforce. This bake sale was representative of this inequity.
Members of NOW expected a lot of complaints about the separate prices but found something different. People did not have a hard time swallowing the facts. "I was shocked that more people did not argue or question the pay gap," said sophomore Julie Nociolo, president of NOW. "We were prepared to show evidence of this fact through the research we have done. People were responding very positively to the bake sale and saying that it was a great idea, and several made donations."
NOW members said they were grateful to Sundance Books for allowing them to use their building, and especially for the staff who entertained them and encouraged others. With the help of college students and Sundance employees, the bake sale raised $120.
This $120 will be used to help entrepreneur Miroslava Slacheva. Slacheva is a 32-year-old woman from Bulgaria trying to start up her own business. She began selling children's clothing out of a small stall she rented. In order to expand her business, Slacheva will need a car to be able to transport clothing supplies back and forth. This money is going towards that car.
All proceeds will be donated to Slacheva through kiva.org. This is an online program, established by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, which helps low income people start businesses, by granting them small loans, and in doing so gives them a chance at success.
With such success, NOW plans to make the bake sale a semi-annual event.