In Pennsylvania, women make just 76 percent of what men do.
So one Pennsylvania artist thought it only fair that women should have to pay just 76 percent of what men pay when they go shopping.
The Less Than 100 pop-up store opened earlier this month in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood, near the city’s downtown.
Its creator, Elana Schenkler, a graphic designer by trade, said in the past year or so she’d started hearing more about the gender-pay gap.
When she spotted that a publisher planned to reissue the “S.C.U.M. [Society for Cutting Up Men] Manifesto,” a radical feminist pamphlet that originally sold for $2 to men and $1 to women, she got the idea for the store (although Schenkler says she doesn’t agree with the pamphlet and that the project isn’t aligned with its message).
The response has been strong, Schenkler said, even among men. Bill Peduto, the Mayor of Pittsburgh posted a link to Schlenker’s site on Facebook.
“Even guys coming off the street who say, ‘What is this shop?’ Most of them, when they’re told about it kind of respond by saying, ‘My mom was this amazing women, women are worth more.’ It’s been really really positive, in a way I didn’t anticipate.”
The average price is about $15. The items range from ceramics to textiles to books. The store is non-profit, with all proceeds going directly back to the artists who contributed goods for sale.
Schlenker says she’s already begun planning on a store in New Orleans this fall. At 66 percent, the gap in Louisiana is the worst in the nation, according to the American Association of University Women.
And she’s aware that the gap is much wider for women of color, and that this was the best way while making the project work.
“I would love if someone did a race-based project,” she said.