These Franchises Have Made Pledges for Pay Equality


March 12, 2024, is Equal Pay Day, an annual observance symbolizing how far into the new year women must work to earn what their male counterparts earned by the end of the previous year. This is based on the Gender Wage Gap which, according to the National Women’s Law Center, states that, “Women in the United States who work full time, year-round are typically paid only 84 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts.”

Equal Pay Day serves as a platform for advocating fair compensation practices, challenging discrimination and promoting gender equality in the workplace. It highlights the importance of closing the pay gap for justice, economic growth and women’s empowerment.

Many franchises have pledged to ensure equal pay for their employees, promoting fairness and inclusivity. These commitments accentuate the importance of rewarding talent and dedication, regardless of gender, and contribute to advancing gender equality in the business world. There are many ways in which a company or franchise can pledge equal pay practices, whether it be through a state or federal pledge or a company-wide public announcement. These are five that have committed to equal pay and ending the Gender Pay Gap.

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In 1969, Dave Thomas opened the original Wendy’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, the very establishment that marked the company’s beginning. Today, Wendy’s operates more than 7,000 units. The company is not only an established brand with recognition worldwide, but it also strives to create gender equality in the workplace. Two out of the seven employee resource groups at Wendy’s focus on female and LGBTQ+ equality and empowerment, guiding Wendy’s leadership. According to the Wendy’s website, Wendy’s actively and transparently works to improve gender equality through increasing representation in leadership, their franchisee population and even their board of directors.

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McDonald’s had humble beginnings when Dick and Mac McDonald opened a drive-in burger joint in San Bernardino, California, in the 1940s. Their simplicity in operations and menu, featuring burgers, fries and shakes, set the foundation for their success. When they met Ray Kroc, a salesman they hired as a franchise agent, in the 1950s, the group propelled McDonald’s to to the global icon we know today.

In 2021, McDonald’s set an equal pay goal to promote transparency, inclusion and change in franchise practices: equal pay for equal work. McDonald’s regularly shares and analyzes the gaps in their annual equal pay analysis, working to become a leader in reducing the gender pay gap.

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Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Hilton Hotels & Resorts is one of the largest hospitality companies worldwide. In 2016, Hilton partnered with the White House on the “Equal Pay Pledge.” Signing the pledge is a public oath to promote and work toward the elimination of the gender pay gap—and as more companies like Hilton sign on, the hope is to eliminate the pay gap entirely.

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InterContinental Hotel & Resorts

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is a well-known global hotel brand belonging to InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which also oversees Kimpton and the Holiday Inn family. In 2016, IHG also signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge, and combined with their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion resources, they are committed to being the number-one destination for guests, owners and colleagues.

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Dunkin’s parent company was one of the White House Equal Pay Pledge’s original signatories. Dunkin’ regularly examines their pay practices because it emphasizes a company culture of equal pay, value and opportunity for equal work. Dunkin’ also leverages its Champions of Women Leaders resource group to provide women franchisees and employees what they need to be supported.

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A more equitable future

As we recognize the significance of Equal Pay Day and the critical conversations it ignites about the Gender Pay Gap, it’s essential to remember the role every organization plays in sculpting a more equitable future. The franchises mentioned are not just businesses, they are setting benchmarks for what it means to champion equal pay and gender equality within the corporate realm.

Their dedication to ensuring every employee is compensated fairly, irrespective of gender, is a powerful reminder of the strides brands can make when they commit to equity and justice.

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