Jim's Comments from (un) Equal Pay Day

Jim's Comments from (un) Equal Pay Day

Below is the text from Jim's comments at the Olympia City Council meeting on April 12, 2016 following an Equal Pay Day Proclamation by the Olympia City Council. Video of proclamation and council comments is located here and starts at 7:50. 

This issue hits close to home for me given that I have a wife, a daughter, two sisters, a mom, three grandmas,  countless female cousins and a majority of my colleagues on council are women All of whom are who strong parts of my life…it’s pretty clear that women run the world, they should receive the same benefits!

Thank you to the YWCA, WLC, Zonta, Soroptomist, and the Interagency Committee of State Employed Women for highlighting this unjust inequity. I am frankly disturbed to hear than in Thurston County we are doing worse!

We have the tools to build a more equitable society yet have been unable to bring it to fruition. It takes constant work (unfortunately) by all of us, to remind everyone how bad it really is. There should not be any societal penalties for being a woman, in fact one would think we would protect and honor the ones who give life in a respectable way that mirrors the level of significance that life brings to our society.

Let’s take this information and be leaders by moving it to action!

In my day job I have the opportunity to live and work with data on a daily basis, so I looked up a few additional facts to bring to this discussion:

  • Single-female-headed households account for the majority of households with children living below the FPL in PNW…
  • Households headed by single women with children account for one-fifth of all Pacific Northwest families with children but make up more than 45 percent of households with children in financial hardship because of their disproportionately lower incomes:
    • Single-female-headed households are much more likely to be in poverty with 55 percent in WA falling below the poverty line.
    • Of all families with children in financial hardship, single-female-headed households account for 47 percent in Washington, when we account for actual cost of living.
    • 53% of the 51,345 workers in the city of Olympia are women, compared to being 57% of workers paid between $12 & 15/ hr, and 59% of workers paid less than $12/ hr are women!
    • There are several demographic groups that are more likely to have financial hardship: households that are headed by women or transgender people, have lower levels of education, include someone with a disability, have racial/ethnic minority status, include unauthorized or unskilled immigrants, or face language barriers. (it’s when many of these factors compound in one household the impact on earnings can be exponential and the outcome is downright unacceptable!)

So now that we know about the gender gap, what can we do about it?  We know we can’t continue business as usual!

First let’s look internally and make sure we pay fairly and have equitable hiring practices that go out of their way to bring more equity and accountability to the workplace.

Next, let’s support policies and practices that bring/ retain living wage jobs to our community.

And finally let’s support (and implement!) “right sized” predictable scheduling, paid sick & safe leave and minimum wage at the federal, state and local level.

I look forward to moving Olympia ahead in these ways with all of you!