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New Collaborative Street Art Installation Aims to Highlight Gender Pay Gap

March 18, 2019

New collaborative installation this week from Nicole Nikolich (aka Lace in the Moon) with Hysterical Men. Located at 7th street and Girard avenue, the collaboration aims to remind passersby of the injustice of the United State’s gender wage gap.

“I have wanted to do a piece surrounding equality and women’s rights for a while now,” Nicole commented over email. “There has been such a special and powerful women’s movement going on the past couple years, and I have wanted to pay my own tribute to some powerful females who have made an impact in the fight for equality. I haven’t really done a piece that has been political, so I wanted to dive into new territory with this one. Currently, women only make 80 cents to the dollar of what a man makes for the exact same type of work (according to the US Department of Labor) – and this is even less if you are Hispanic or black. Statistics show that women will not make the same amount of money as men until the year 2059.”

Each of the three woman depicted in the installation are related to U.S. currency or equal pay as Hysterical Men went on to explain, also over email:

Lilly Ledbetter sued her employer for paying her less than her male counterparts and it went all the way to the Supreme Court. Due to a legal loophole she lost her case but people were so outraged Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act of 2009 to close that loophole so that other women can more successfully sue their employers.”

Harriet Tubman was a fierce, brave abolitionist who saved thousands of people from slavery via the Underground Railroad. She is supposed to be on the twenty dollar bill, but our government can’t seem to get it together to make that actually happen.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Supreme Court Justice who has fought for women’s rights her entire career. She joined the equal pay movement in the 60s when she realized she was being paid less than her male colleagues, has worked for the ACLU and co-founded the Women’s Rights Project. She dissented on the Supreme Court’s ruling against Lilly Ledbetter with an enlightening statement.”

While the original idea for the piece came from Nicole, she wanted to bring in a collaborative partner to strengthen its execution: “I really enjoy doing collaborations with other local artists as it allows me to create pieces I wouldn’t necessarily be able to create on my own. My forte is not in drawing or painting, so when I am able to partner with someone who’s strengths are in illustrating or portraiture, the possibilities of what we can create together widens substantially. I became aware of Hysterical Men’s work after the piece she did in collaboration with Symone Salib around the time of the Bret Kavanaugh hearing. I thought Hysterical Men’s work was bold and brave and I am honored to work alongside her for this piece after we connected via Instagram.”

“Pennsylvania is ranked 24th in the states with the widest pay gap,” Nicole added. “Louisiana has the highest gap, at 69%, and California has the “lowest” gap, at 89%. As a resident of Pennsylvania this is pretty embarrassing. I hope that this piece makes people stop and take a second to reflect on this statistic, and that if they are in a position of power to close the gap in anyway that they consider it their duty to do so. Men, women, non-binary, it does not matter… equal pay for equal work… not sure why this isn’t a given by now?!”

See previous work around Philly by Nicole Nikolich here, and by Hysterical Men here!

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