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Bozeman business owners speak out about equal pay

By Eric Turcio, Reporter, eturcio@ktvm.com
Published On: Apr 09 2013 11:07:45 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Tuesday marks the annual Equal Pay Day, advocating for equality in the workplace for women nationwide. NBC Montana visited with two Bozeman women who run their own businesses in town.

Angela Frye owns a coffee shop called, The Mud Hut right off West Main Street. Frye knows firsthand how hard it is to be a woman in business. Frye says women need to stick together and fight for equality.

"We should demand more money when you go into those negotiations and you sit down and you know your counter-part is getting paid more," said Frye.

According to some experts, in Montana, women are paid on average only 73 cents on the dollar compared to men. Frye told us she pays her employees the same amount regardless of gender.

"I pay my baristas the same amount, man or women. It doesn't matter. If you're a good salesman, you make your tips," explained Frye.

Lisa Rickenbaugh owns Bozeman's Hey Day boutique. Rickenbaugh says her lifestyle store employs all women.

"We handle situations differently then men and it makes our work environment more smooth and appealing to other women," said Rickenbaugh.  

Rickenbaugh told NBC Montana she's not too happy with how women are compensated in comparison to men.

I'm "frustrated by the system that we live in. Still, there is work to be done out there to make sure that women do get paid equally," explained Rickenbaugh.

However, that work that is no stranger to Montana's Commissioner of Labor, Pam Bucy. NBC Montana caught up with Bucy at Tuesday's Bozeman Business and Professional Women's event. Bucy says the state lawmakers need to change the status quo to ensure better wages for Montana women.

"Unfortunately, though it's been 40 years we've been talking about this since the equal pay act was passed. We certainly need to do more," said Commissioner Bucy.

If you're concerned about equal pay issues, members of the Bozeman Business and Professional Womens group suggests you write to Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester as well as to Congressman Steve Daines.