Starbucks’ proactive commitment serves as a model for all companies as we strive for pay equity across gender and race.

In November 2019, Starbucks released the company findings on pay equity. Starbucks found that in their U.S. franchises, men and women were paid equally for the same work, and there were no differences in pay across different races and/or ethnicities.

Nationally, women earn 19% less, on average, compared to every dollar that a man earns. In other words, for every dollar men make, women make $0.81. Starbucks is not required to do this analysis nor report the results. CitiGroup also reported an analysis, with much less favorable findings (women make 29% less than men). Kudos to both companies. Without the willingness to ask questions about pay equity and report the findings, they cannot make progress in making sure everyone is paid fairly.

Pay disparity is not a new issue. The Pay Equity Act of 1963 was designed to abolish the disparity in wages between men and women. The slow progress in realizing this goal is a sign of the resistance of companies to meet it head on. An important step is asking the question and reporting the results.

You, as consumers, can take a stand on this issue. You can vote with your wallet for pay equity by supporting companies that treat their workers fairly. Make your money count by buying your coffee at Starbucks where all employees are paid equally.

In the end, you may pay more for your coffee or travel farther to get it, but your support will be securing the futures of women, minorities, and their families.


Martha E. Arterberry

(on behalf of the members of the American Association of University Women Waterville Branch)

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