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Archive for the ‘Pay Equity’ Category

Equal Pay For All or At Least the Blondes

Posted by YWM on July 31, 2012

Our guest blogger today is Danielle Eisner, a small business owner in South Carolina and a member of BPW/Breakfast of Spartanburg, SC.  This blog is adapted from a speech she gave March 24, 2012 for the BPW/South Carolina Young Careerist competition. We congratulate Danielle on being selected South Carolina’s 2012 Young Careerist. 

 Equal Pay For All

My name is Danielle Eisner and I own a wedding venue in Spartanburg, SC.  Business has been good, so I would like to hire ALL of you ladies out there to help me work the wedding events.  Champagne and wedding cake for everyone!  BUT, since I am blonde and rumor has it that blondes have more fun, I am going to pay my blonde employees more than my brunette employees.  Now, now brunettes, I don’t care how many weddings you’ve attended in the past, or if you were the life of the party in college – in my mind, none of that qualifies you to earn as much as the blondes.  And since I’m the owner of the business, I can make the rules and pay y’all whatever I want, even if you’re doing the exact same job.

 Sound ridiculous?

Well, it is ridiculous.  It is ridiculous that two people can be paid different wages for the same work. And gender or race (or hair color) most certainly should not determine a person’s salary.  The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, making it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform the same work.  Back then, women earned 59 cents to every dollar earned by men.  In 2009, the gap narrowed to 77%.  I suppose we should be thrilled with our “raise”, earning 77 cents to every dollar a man makes in the same job.  But the fact is women are still being discriminated against in the workplace.  And the wage gap is even greater for minorities, with African American women earning 69% of men and Latina women earning only 59% of men in the workplace[1].

SO, how do we change this?  Education is the number one tool we have in this fight against pay discrimination against women and minorities.  We need to make everyone aware about pay inequity – women AND men, business owners, managers AND workers.  The more we talk about the issue, the more support and momentum we can gain, and hopefully we can forge some REAL change, both legislatively and in actual business practices.

We all took a first step by joining a women-focused professional organization. Business and Professional Women’s Foundation empowers working women to achieve their full potential, and creates Successful Workplaces which value the skills of working women and practice work/life balance, equity and diversity.  By introducing new women to BPW, we can educate and empower other women in the workforce.

We need to encourage every working woman (and sympathetic man) we know to contact our local legislators to tell them how important equal pay is to us.  We should ask them to sign a Fair Pay Pledge, indicating that they will support pay equality legislation (including the Paycheck Fairness Act) and they will ensure pay equity practices in their own businesses.

We should support and encourage participation in local activities on Equal Pay Day.  Equal Pay Day was started in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages[1].  This year Equal Pay Day was Tuesday, April 17.  Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay, and April 17th symbolized how far into 2012 women needed to work to earn what men earned in 2011.   Equal Pay Day events are used to educate the community that Equal Pay isn’t just a “women’s issue”, but it’s a “business issue” too and the pay disparities effects the economic stability of the entire community.

On behalf of BPW, let’s bring “The Wage Project workshops to our local community.  Did you know that year out of college; women working full-time earn only 80% as much as their male colleagues[1]?  That wage gap will only increase, and that girl has the potential to earn roughly 1 million dollars less than a man over the course of her career.  Smart Campus Negotiation Workshops provide college women the knowledge and skills to negotiate salaries and benefits.  The Wage Project also offers salary negotiation workshops for working women and women returning to the workforce.

Lastly, we should each encourage our OWN places of employment to do a Workplace Pay Audit to discover if discrimination is happening in our own backyard. Let’s try to make some real changes at the local level.  Employers play a major role in ending the wage gap and treating women fairly in the workplace.  BPW has an Employer Pay Equity Self-Audit tool on its website to help businesses do a self-evaluation of their recruitment and promotion processes, and to help establish consistent and fair pay practices for all workers.

Achieving pay equity is within our reach.  Together, we can educate the public and with more voices we can make a difference.

You can learn more about Danielle Eisner and her business  by visiting her website http://www.duncanestate.com/ or her Facebook page www.Facebook.com/Duncan.Estate.SC

Posted in Equal Pay, Equal Pay Day, Misbehavin' Notification, Pay Equity, Uncategorized, Wage Gap | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Equal Pay and the Single Woman

Posted by egehl on May 30, 2012

By Business and Professional Women’s Foundation friend Elisabeth Gehl

As a society, we are obsessed with anything to do with marriage: falling in love, glamorous weddings, gorgeous rings, stunning dresses, and happily ever after.  Consequently single women typically feel that their married counterparts always have a leg up in getting society’s focus and attention.  And while that may be true in many regards, it’s not the case when it comes to electing our political leaders.  Single women proved to be extremely influential in the last two election cycles, and will undoubtedly be again this November.  As a result, Congressional leaders are shifting their priorities this year to move legislation forward that impacts all women, but especially single women.

The number of single women in this country continues to grow and candidates are taking notice. There are 55 million single, divorced, separated or widowed women eligible to vote this year and they share the same unique needs as all women, but often with a further emphasis because most are taking care of themselves, and sometimes their families, alone.

The needs of single women and the issues facing them span the gamut from Generation Y just getting out of college with looming student loans, to the widow that is struggling every month to survive on her Social Security check.  Women now make up about half of all workers and among families with children one in four is headed by a single parent. Many single women feel very vulnerable in their ability to stay economically afloat, and especially need policies that can give them a foundation to succeed.  This is finally starting to resonate with legislators because these women represent an important constituency, and have the ability to determine the outcome of this year’s election.

In 2008, unmarried women were among Barack Obama’s most loyal supporters.  This group of women turned out in droves four years ago and delivered 70 percent of their votes to him.  Two years later during the 2010 mid-term election, the opposite happened when many of them stayed home, and as a result Democrats lost the House and had their Senate majority decreased.  Democrats want to prevent that from happening again with so much at stake for a wide array of women’s issues, including equal pay.

Determined to get single women re-energized and engaged in this year’s election, Senate leaders are reshaping their legislative agenda and advancing an equal pay bill this month, the Paycheck Fairness Act that will enhance women’s ability to win pay Equal Pay Daydiscrimination lawsuits. Specifically, the Paycheck Fairness Act would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act by improving remedies for pay discrimination, prohibiting employer retaliation, and facilitating class action suits in equal pay claims, among other strategies.

On average, single women have lower household income than married women therefore policies like the Paycheck Fairness Act that address pay disparities are of particular importance to this population.  As our economy continues to be on life support, single women are feeling economically marginalized and that their unique needs and challenges are not being adequately addressed.  Many consider paycheck fairness as one of their top economic issues because they know that to succeed financially they need to be on an equal level playing field with their male counterparts.

HERvotes Blog Carnival: Join us by sharing this and the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

HERvotes Blogs

Justice for Working Women, Jewish Women International

The Wage Gap: Collective Change Not Choice, National Council of Women’s Organizations

A Jewish Call for Equal Pay, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism

The Facts Behind the Call for Equal Pay, NOW

American Women and Families Deserve a Vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, National Partnership for Women and Families

HERvotes: Paycheck Equality: It’s Not a Suggestion, It’s the Law | CLUW

Posted in Equal Pay, Gen X, Gen Y, HERvotes, Pay Equity | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Nowhere Near Equal: Reflections on Equal Pay Day

Posted by YWM on April 17, 2012

 by Kathy Groob,
Publisher ElectWomen Magazine

Tonight I’ll be speaking to the Coshocton Ohio Chapter of The Business & Professional Women’s Organization in honor of Equal Pay Day. The National Committee on Pay Equity first initiated Equal Pay Day in 1996. It’s always on a Tuesday, to represent how far into the workweek women have to work in order to earn what men earn for equal work. Because women on average earn less than men, they must work longer to earn the same amount of pay.

Women who work full time earn about 77 cents for every dollar men earn. Compared to white men, African American women make 70 cents on the dollar (African American men make 74 cents); Hispanic or Latina women make about 60 cents (Hispanic men make almost 66 cents).

The National Committee on Pay Equity, along with hundreds of women’s organizations across the globe believe that equal pay for equal work is a simple matter of justice for women.

Wage discrimination impacts the economic security of families today and directly affects retirement security as women look down the road.

But despite the Equal Pay Act and many improvements in women’s economic status over the past 48 years, wage discrimination still persists and is attributable in part to the Equal Pay Act’s limited scope. Not only does it fail to cover wage discrimination based on race (although Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does), it also fails to provide equal pay for jobs that are comparable but not identical. Further, it excludes part-time or contingent workers, and does not allow groups of workers to file class action suits.

I’ve spent over 30 years as a businesswoman and have my fair share of stories about feeling discriminated against, undervalued for the results I was producing, and being paid less than what I was worth. Until I left to run for the Kentucky Senate, I was a Vice President at a large real estate development and construction firm. I was the first female at the executive level in my company and working in an industry that was heavily dominated by men.

Most days I was the only female in meetings and attending industry events. Over time I was able to make positive changes for the women in the organization and helped recruit other women at leadership levels.

The National Committee on Equal Pay has a website and on it is a list of suggestions for what employers and individuals can do to promote equal pay for women.

One of the items for individuals is to contact your state legislators and members of Congress asking them to support equal pay legislation.

But with the majority of those state legislative and Congressional members being men, how much of a priority will it be for them to level the playing field for men?

Without enough women in elected office, women in business, women in law enforcement, education, health care and even in the entertainment and movie businesses, we will continue to be under valued and under paid.

Until we are fully represented at the highest levels in this country, women must band together, support each other and work to advance women in the workplace and in politics. When one woman succeeds, we all succeed.

Information provided by the National Committee on Equal Pay.

Posted in Equal Pay, Equal Pay Day, Gender Discrimination, Pay Equity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »


Posted by YWM on November 29, 2011

By Patty Tanji
Open Workplace

“The guy leading the way is the one with all the arrows in his back”

“Bravery and valor” is one of my signature strengths.  If you want to know yours head over to Authentic Happiness powered by some great research by positive psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania.  I’m not sure to whom the above quote is attributable but thought it appropriate for me and anyone else who feels the calling to speak the unspeakable, and do the undo-able.   As I journey through my own experiences on a path to becoming self enlightened — its important to know a few daggers will be hurled my way.  The key to surviving and thriving in a world that wants me to conform to someone else’s definition of success is to live life on solid footing, knowing who I am, and what makes me feel most alive. That’s my definition of success. And, it would be great to have some company.

As a person who woke up one day with a business degree in one hand and a 9 month old in the other, I believed I could change the world, or at least make our workplaces more family friendly.  I was not prepared for the opposition I would encounter along the way.  The status quo is firmly entrenched in the human psyche and that includes how we do business in America and throughout the globe.  Any threat to intervene in a world by revealing a different perspective will meet resistance from within and without.  Even from the very people we thought were on our side.

For many years advocates like me for family friendly workplaces have been praising the bottom-line benefits of creating workplaces where people could bring their whole selves to work.  We now know that any usage of telework, job sharing, or reduced work week policies are met with the ‘stink eye’ of resistance.  Despite the evidence that employees who have control over the time and timing of their work makes for more productive workplaces and financially stronger organizations, the status quo way of doing business, views employees who participate in flexible work arrangements as less dedicated, less ambitious and not team players.    As a result we see fewer women in the c’suites, and other executive positions in our organizations.  Lets not forget the men who are also negatively affected by workplace cultures that reduce the value of an employee to the number of hours at the office.  The ‘daggers in the back’ of the modern workplace.   (Don’t get me started on when work actually begins and when it ends — take a look here if you are curious.)

When I posted in a social media group that we, as leaders, might view the Occupy movement as an opportunity for creating more human centered democratic workplaces that embrace a shared a vision and purpose with everyone in the organization,  accountability, integrity (see Worldblu’s list of democratic principles),  the daggers flew as resistance to change became apparent.  Here are some of the responses — fraught with fear and frustration at the thought of a changing the business landscape:

1. If we continue to attack and impede, rather than reward risk takers and visionaries our society will grind to a halt. If we keep choking the golden goose we will have to live off what we have been and not what we can be. When we stand up for our rights, it becomes impossible to focus on delivering value. If we fail to deliver value, someone else will.

2. The closer you get to the source of the food and value chain, the more the luster fades of “wouldn’t it be nice if? I do believe wholeheartedly in responsible management, but we can’t take a Boston cookie-cutter to an Appalachian coal mine, or Kansas wheat field and expect the same results.

3. Milton Friedman who once said “the social responsiblity of a corporation is to make a profit.” Profits create growth, growth creates profits, profits and growth create jobs but more importantly they create opportunity and hope for people…that 99%

4. Earth to Patti this war, as in business is war, survival of the fittest. My competitors are trying to take mine and I’m trying to take theirs. We’re not in kindergarten where everyone plays fair in the sand box. Human beings are not wired that way.

5. Patti’s on the right side of socialists every where. So you’re right if we become a socialist country she, you and the occupiers will be on that so called right side.

Some of these points are very valid ….even the ‘earth to Patti’ comment but more importantly I thought it interesting the use of the war metaphor and the unhealthy view of competition. This is why our workplaces are not family friendly and that is why our efforts as advocates to create more inclusive workplace cultures have stalled. Change is hard but change we must.

So, since my DNA compels me to opt-out of the status quo, in more ways than one, and opt-in to something else that is more creative, loving, and democratic, I embrace the daggers as part of the landscape.  Best keep my shields up!

This article first appeared on My Open Workplace

Patty Tanji works with local and state government agencies and the State Legislature to ensure the
elimination of gender-based disparities in public employment in Minnesota. Her work allows for pay
equity in the workplace, which positively impacts the lives of Minnesota women who work in the public
sector. Her work directly impacts the economic power of these families.

She will receive the Woman of Distinction award on December 1st from Century College and the Century College Women
and Gender Studies Department for her professional accomplishments and for her work in improving the lives and increasing opportunities for women and girls.

Follow Patty on twitter

Posted in Gender Discrimination, Pay Equity, Successful Workplaces, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by YWM on June 24, 2011

Getting women to the top is still an up hill battle [MSNBC]

Non profit gender gap spurs project [Post Gazette]

Top 100 websites for women [Forbes]

Female trade workers run special safety risks [Womens eNews]

Women dominated fields should be women led [SignOnSanDiego]

Gen X women put careers before having children [Fox LA]

Philly approves sick-leave bill [Philly.com]

Dads under more pressure at work and at home [Fortune]

Younger women desert female candidates [US News]

Do women ask for what they need? Often not. [PsychCentral]

Woman home builder deals with hard times [NPR]

Inside the world of female web moguls [Fortune]

Are women partially at fault for wage gap?  Need to ask for more [Forbes]

Between mothers and daughters it is still a man’s world [Huffington Post]

Study finds that in the workplace women are often held to different standard than men [US News]

Is LinkIn a gender equalizer? [Fast Company]

Mika Brzezinski Talks about Her Battle for Equal Pay At MSNBC [Mediaite.com]

Women need mentors at work [Huffington Post]

More women are in combat [New York Times]

Female soldier of the year reflects on her last 8 months [Ledger]

VA addresses growing demands of women vets needing care [Star Telegram]

Walmart women vow to continue fight in lower courts [Bloomberg]

Walmart ruling set back for workers [Time]

Walmart needs to work harder to advance women [Newsok]

Walmart decision inspires reintroduction of Equal Rights Amendment [Ms Magazine]

How one woman won a $2 million discrimination suit against Walmart [Huffinton Post]

Ending bias over flextime works: judging quantity of quality [Glass Hammer]

Apache 8: A documentary on a team of women firefighters [NativeTelecom] [NPR]

Posted in Feminism, Link Love, Pay Equity, Politics, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Gen Y Women: Is Your Workplace Gender Equitable?

Posted by knbarrett on May 17, 2011

“They offered you what???” The voices in my head competed for the tone with which to deliver my question.  As my then fiancé excitedly shared the details of the compensation package he had just been offered, I could barely muster a “that’s great.” I should have been jumping up and down, right? That money would soon be flowing into our joint bank account. Instead, I was furious.

You see, my fiancé and I graduated from the same school with the same major. After graduation, we entered the same industry and were hired for same type of position.  There was one big difference . . . our starting salaries. I was offered 29 percent less than him.  Unfortunately, my experience is not so different from other Gen Y women. A recent study found that the average starting salary of a new female college graduate is 17 percent lower that her male counterpart.

Pay inequity is just one form of gender discrimination. Research on gender in the workplace consistently indicates that gender is an accurate predictor of occupation, pay and career progress. Further, men and women are often treated differently at work even when formal employment barriers are removed.

As a Gen Y woman, I want to believe that gender discrimination is on the decline. However, my workplace expectations often do not match my workplace experiences. When this happens, I struggle with feeling “whiny” for pointing out gender bias. After all, my experience is so much better than that of my mother or grandmother at my age. The bias may be different but it’s no less real. Just because the workplace is getting better, it doesn’t mean that the workplace is gender neutral much less equitable. I’ve learned that one of the most important steps in addressing gender inequities is indentifying them and understanding their underlying factors.

How about you, how has gender affected your workplace experiences and opportunities? If you are a Gen Y woman (born 1978-1994), BPW Foundation wants to better understand your perspectives on gender in the workplace.

  • How important is gender equity in the workplace to you?
  • To what extent is gender discrimination a problem in today’s workplace?
  • Based on your experience and observations, what are the most prevalent forms of discrimination facing women in the workplace?
  • What can employers do to promote a more gender equitable workplace?

Please share your thoughts and experiences by taking our online survey. The survey will remain open until Tuesday, May 31st at midnight. Don’t miss the chance to let your voice be heard!

Posted in Equal Pay, Gen Y, Gen Yner, Pay Equity, Research, Uncategorized, Wage Gap | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by sherrysaunders on May 13, 2011

5 Tips for Developing Gen Y Women [GlassHammer]

What Gen Y Women Want: Autonomy and Self-Direction   [SHRM]

Women at risk: status of our health care system [Empower Her]

Health care law will insure almost all uninsured women by 1214 [Eureka Alert]

NY Times editorial: House attacks women’s rights [New York Times]

Female college grads earn 17% less than male counter parts [NACE]

EEOC targets gender wage gap [AZ Central]

Gender pay gap narrower in federal government than private sector [Washington Post]

Some insights on how women owned businesses operate differently  [Miami Herald]

How to make workplace flexibility not just about women [Forbes]

Married women get more leisure time (we are talking 33 minutes here) [HBR]

Women trail men in new job gains [Wall Street Journal]

Editorial: Women pulling ahead while still falling behind [South Coast Today]

Engineering gender parity [PW Magazine]

Why women have the upper hand in the workplace [Career Builder]

Women face obstacles to secure retirement [CNBC]

How female influencers communicate on line [eMarketer]

The long arm of Title IX beyond sports: sexual harassment too [Post Gazette]

Share of married couple families with employed mother at lowest since 1994 [HR Compliance]

Single working moms earn less [HR Compliance]

Unemployed Mother’s Day [NY Times]

Moms are business owners too [USA Today]

Momprenuers shine and big business takes note [Forbes]

Movement to keep moms working is reshaping workplace [Washington Post]

Working mom survey – what do they want? [Reuters]

Breastfeeding bias [HR Online]

Make Your Mother Proud [Huffington Post]

Amazing military moms [Washington Post]

VA preparing itself for new services for women vets [Fayetteville Observer]

Some history, making WAVES during WWII [Reformer]

First nurse and woman nominated as Army Surgeon General [Government Executive]

Posted in Career Advancement, Feminism, Gen Y, Link Love, Pay Equity, Small Business | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Huffington Post: On Equal Pay Day, Step Up or Step Out of the Way

Posted by deborahfrett on April 12, 2011

According to the last study by the National Center for Educational Statistics:

  • Female high school graduates are more likely than male graduates to have taken geometry, algebra II, pre-calculus, biology, and chemistry.
  • Females are more likely than their male classmates to participate in music or performing arts, belong to academic clubs, work on the school yearbook or newspaper, or participate in student government.

Last month, The White House’s Women in America Report noted that those trends continue in college:

  • Greater percentages of females attend college.
  • Females are more likely to attend and graduate from college without dropping out.
  • Females are more likely to earn a graduate school degree.

And the 2010 “Women in the Labor Force: A Databook,” compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reflects similar developments in the workforce:

  • Women account for 51 percent of all people employed in management, professional, and related occupations, somewhat more than their share of total employment (47 percent).
  • The increase in female managers coming to the table with undergraduate and graduate degrees is greater than the increases in male managers.

So, are you ready for reality?

  • Women earn 77 percent of what men earn.
  • Equal Pay Day, which signifies the point into the year that a woman must work to earn what a man made, falls on Tuesday, April 12 this year.

Wait, what? That’s right; and it’s not what you were expecting, is it?

Equal Pay DayTruth be told, we should expect more for our working women, and they get more. Nearly 50 years ago, when the Equal Pay Act of 1963 brought pay parity for women to the national forefront, critics argued that women simply did not have the same educational background as men, and therefore did not merit the same wages. Well, instead of coming a long way, baby, it seems we have come full circle.

Today’s critics of equal pay argue that men as a group earn higher wages in part because men dominate blue collar jobs, which are more likely to require payments for overtime work. In contrast, women comprise more of the salaried white collar management workforce that is often exempted from overtime laws.

We were told that we didn’t have enough education to merit equal pay then, and now our educational achievements are the cause of the disparity. Corporate America wants it both ways. Last December, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have toughened legal action against discriminating employers, narrowly failed to pass Congress. With few exceptions, business opposed it, citing that new legislation is unnecessary, redundant, and would simply lead to unfair lawsuits against employers. In a June 21, 2010 letter to U.S. Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, the Business Roundtable wrote, “The Paycheck Fairness Act … would open companies to potentially crippling employment litigation without adding significant benefit to workers, since current law already addresses the discrimination issue.”

Then why, nearly 50 years later, has the wage gap only improved by only half a cent per year? In 1963, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity, “women working full-time and year-round earned on average 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. A woman now earns 77 cents for every man’s dollar.” At that rate, it will take nearly another half-century for women to earn a fair wage.

In that same time frame, women have made tremendous strides and are more likely than males to enter the workforce with degrees from high school, college, and graduate school. It makes good financial sense for businesses to invest in attracting and retaining the best talent by offering equal and fair compensation and benefits.

It’s time for America’s business community to step up with fair pay, or step out of the way of legislation like the just re-introduced Paycheck Fairness Act that will help ensure pay equity. I urge you, on Equal Pay Day this year, to review your compensation packages and address the inequality. We can help.

BPW Foundation encourages employers to recognize and reward the skills and contributions of working women. The Employer Pay Equity Self-Audit was developed to assist employers in analyzing their own wage-setting policies and establishing consistent and fair pay practices for all. It can be found on the BPW Foundation website:

It’s the right thing to do for your employees. It’s the smart thing to do for your business.

Don’t let another year go by for working women — and their families — who are doing more for less. We held up our end of the bargain and came to the workforce better prepared and more skilled. Now it’s your turn: make sure you offer equal pay for equal work.

First appeared on the Huffington Post, April 11, 2011

Posted in Equal Pay, Equal Pay Day, Pay Equity, Wage Gap | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Missing the Women’s Movement on Pay Equity

Posted by ptanji on March 8, 2011

I get that there is no ‘women’s movement’ per se these days.  Not like the 70’s, 80’s and even the 90’s.  But, as I, pay equity activist extraordinaire, meet with lobbyists, advocates, and the well meaning (but not well meaning enough to act) members of the general public — I long for the days when I didn’t feel so alone in this pay equity fight.

I know there are millions, maybe even billions, of women who support what I do, that is to uphold the pay equity laws in Minnesota, but the fact is its just me and a few other extremely dedicated beautiful volunteer ‘lobbyists’ working on this issue.  Especially, when there are sooooooooooooooooo many highly paid lobbyists on the opposing side. I met with three this morning alone.

I do know why this is.  The general public, including some brilliant sisters and brothers of the world, think that pay equity is a done deal.  We fixed it in 1963 — with the Equal Pay Act and when states around the nation passed their own versions thereof.  In Minnesota we did this in 1967 ish. Yup that’s almost 50 years ago!  But,  here in Minnesota, where we have the toughest pay equity laws anywhere on the planet (at least in the public sector) — pay equity is still not a done deal!

Until cities, counties and school districts in Minnesota can prove that they will never backslide again into those dark days when women were eating dog food to supplement their city clerk typist pay — its not a done deal!  And, by the way, local jurisdictions were given the opportunity to prove they wouldn’t back slide in 2003 when a two year moratorium on pay equity reporting (to the state) was enacted.  Guess what — 5 years later the amount of local jurisdictions who did back slide was 50% as opposed to  25% when there was a three year reporting cycle.  Yes — there is backsliding even in a three year period but five years, yikes!

We have much re-educating to do.  And it is working.  One Senator did ‘pull’ his anti-pay equity bill.  But, there are three more pending.  And the reason these well intended (at least what they will say publicly) folks want to kill pay equity is because of the administrative burden.  Yup – balancing the budgets on the $1.59 pay raise of a secretary who was doing work of similar value to the custodians. Other gripes include such notions as ‘we had to raise pay for three male job classes because of pay equity’.  Seems some city and county staff  blame all salary increases on pay equity reporting.  But, any pay raise that justifiably can be called a pay equity raise are those given to women doing jobs of similar work value to jobs done by men.

This bill is not about equal pay for equal work.  That notion doesn’t work — unless you want to sue your boss.  This bill is about fairness inherent in our public sector’s wage setting practices.  That fairness includes gender.  However, the squeaky wheel is getting the grease in Minnesota.  It’s going to take a women’s movement or whatever we want to call it this time to pay attention.    Wake up sleepy giant — we need you!

Posted in Feminism, Pay Equity, Woman Misbehavin' | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

International Women’s Day: Its Our Day

Posted by weeksm on March 6, 2011

 March 8, 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD), a global day of recognition.  Thousands of events are being held around the world to celebrate women’s achievements, discuss issues and inspire women. This year’s theme for IWD is “Equal access to education, training and science and technology:  Pathway to decent work for women.”

In 1910, Clara Zetkin, leader of the “Women’s Office” for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed the idea of an International Women’s Day at the 2nd International Conference of Working Women.  The conference attendees, more than 100 women from 17 countries, unanimously approved the suggestion.  The very first IWD was launched the following year on March 19th in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.  More than one million women and men attended rallies supporting women’s rights.  In 1913, IWD was moved to March 8th, which has remained the global date ever since.

In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating March 8th as IWD. The General Assembly cited two reasons for adopting its IWD resolution:

  • To recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms requires the active participation, equality and development of women; and
  • To acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.

The day has traditionally been marked with a message from the U.N. Secretary-General.

While women around the world have made great strides since the first IWD, women still do not receive equal pay to that of their male counterparts, they are underrepresented in business and politics, women’s education and health are worse than men’s, and rates of violence against them are higher.  BPW Foundation continues to work to transform workplaces in the United States by strengthening the capacity of organizations and businesses to create work environments that are inclusive and that value the skills and contributions of working women.

So in March, as we begin celebrations for Women’s History Month in the United States, let’s think globally.  There are 154 IWD events across America from Alaska to Florida listed on the IWD website at www.internationalwomensday.com. Be a part of the global sisterhood!

Posted in Diversity, Equal Pay, Feminism, girls, Global, Pay Equity, Successful Workplaces, Women's History Month | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »