Instead of giving roses this Valentine’s Day, fight for pay equity

The most romantic holiday of the year is fast approaching, and a new campaign delivers a heartfelt message crafted especially for the occasion: Women would rather have raises than roses.

Six Valentine’s Day ecards include headlines like “Roses are red, violets are blue, when it comes to equal pay, why are moms getting screwed?” They are being used to remind people of the pay gap between men and women, and encourage employers to sign a pledge to finally do something about it.

The campaign is a collaborative effort from two groups of women working in the industry: Fierce Mamas and Stop the Party both share similar missions of empowering women and equal pay, though their approach is different.

Fierce Mamas has been making sharply funny digital Mother’s Day cards since 2018, with messages that were “celebratory, with a ‘boss bitch’ type of tone,” Rica Eckersley, one of the Fierce Mamas told us last year.

One of our favourites from 2019 read “You’re always the star of the show. Even when it’s a shit show.” Last year’s cards had a pandemic theme: “Let’s officially change that saying to ‘cry like nobody’s watching.'”

Stop The Party launched last year for International Women’s Day to remind people that while it’s good to celebrate women’s accomplishments, the fact they are still paid less than men is nothing to party about. Aside from a video to make the point, they created a simple three-step action plan for employers to tackle the problem. (Both groups also made our Mighty List last year because of their efforts.)

This year’s joint effort sees Fierce Mamas creating the Valentine’s Day cards that retain the same sardonic tone as the Mother’s Day cards, but with a focus on the pay gap. They will be shared with a call to action for people to visit the Stop The Party site and pledge to take real action to solve the problem.

Along with the six cards, there are six infographics that visually illustrate the magnitude of the pay gap problem.

In a release introducing the campaign, the groups point out the gender wage gap in Canada sits at 25%, and is worse for working moms who endure a “motherhood penalty.”

Kammy Ahuja, one of the co-founders of Fierce Mamas, said she was instantly interested in collaborating when Stop The Party co-founder Erika Maginn reached out and suggested the idea.

“I was happy to hear from her,” said Ahuja. “We loved the idea. Our team always wanted to do something around Valentine’s Day, with moms supporting other moms and women supporting other women. That’s always been on our mind, so this seems like the perfect opportunity.”

Last year’s cards addressed some of the ways the pandemic is hurting working women more than men, and this effort with Stop The Party allows them to go further, by addressing the specific problems facing working women, said Ahuja.

Ahuja said told us the Fierce Mamas—which include Kimberley Pereira, Lindsay Di Tolla, and Alexis Bronstorph—are also working on new Mother’s Day cards this year.

“The women behind both initiatives are all advertising professionals who have seen how women aren’t always adequately or accurately represented out in the world,” said Maginn in the release.

“Both initiatives were created to address that void. Fierce Mamas Cards do a great job of authentically portraying female experiences, so what a great brand to work with to raise awareness about the wage gap.” The other Stop The Party co-founders are Hanna Bratt, Lindsay Hutchison, Ashleigh McEwan, Kate Qually and Yvette Reitner. Maginn said they’re working on a new video and campaign for International Women’s Day next month.

The cards are free to download at the Fierce Mamas site, and will be shared on Instagram (Stop The Party and Fierce Mamas). People are also being encouraged to share and tag other mothers, women and friends to care about the issue.

David Brown