April 5 2017
Yesterday was Equal Pay Day, and a Kansas City woman had a creative idea for what men could do to help address the gender wage gap: Simply Venmo her $5.
“I think this type of activism is important because it shows us that justice doesn’t need to be a big, abstract thing, as that is overwhelming and can leave us feeling powerless,” Candace Ladd told Heat Street. “Political activism is meaningless if we’re not taking care of people in our lives and our community.”
Ladd, who says she’s personally been paid less than her male counterparts, came up with the idea in March. “Closing the wage gap one VenMo request for emotional damages at a time,” she posted on International Women’s Day.
Online, the response has been mostly positive, Ladd said. By Tuesday evening, she’d received just $15 personally. But by Wednesday morning, Ladd had made both her Facebook and Twitter accounts private out of concerns about online trolls.
Ladd said she also asked other women to list their Venmo or SquareCash usernames in social-media posts related to her original one.
“I know at least two other people received money from the men who gave me money,” she said.
Ladd isn’t the first person to solicit money for herself in the name of righting an societal injustice.
Earlier this year, two Black Lives Matter activists launched a for-profit subscription service, Safety Pin Box, where white people would give them money, receiving in exchange three activist assignments, or “guided ally tasks,” to complete each month.
Ladd explained why she was focusing on getting privileged men to give her cash: “In our capitalist society,” she said, “money is power, so sharing and redistributing money and resources is a way to share power.”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.