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Working Moms, When's the Last Time You Thought About the Gender Pay Gap?

The Washington State initiative looking to change the conversation

Published on: June 12, 2018

Woman working

"I want my 10-year-old daughter to have the same opportunities as her three older brothers do."

That, in a sentence, sums up the goal of today's Strike Out the Gap event at Safeco Field.

The four-hour seminar gathered together various leading local businesses to discuss gender and the workplace. More specifically, how do we make sure that you get paid fairly, no matter what your gender is.

The wish — that a girl will be paid as much as her brothers — came from Frances Traisman, senior vice president of sales for the Seattle Mariners.

Traisman kicked off a series of presentations from the likes of PayScale, Hired, T-Mobile and Moz. Each spoke of what first acknowledging and then working to close the gender pay gap can do for both employees and employers.

What's the gender pay gap, you ask? Just that pesky little reality that means women are paid less than men for equal work.

The numbers don't lie: Looking at the pay of all women versus all men, women are paid 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, said Lydia Frank, vice president of content strategy for PayScale.

That number is lower if you control for the type of work (98 cents for every dollar) but what's that tell us? That as women rise, their pay doesn't.

That hurts women. It also hurts families. More than 24.3 million moms with kids age 18 or younger work with nearly half as the sole or primary breadwinner. Pay them less and kids feel it.

"We're making a difference for the 3.5 million women and girls in Washington state," said Liz Vivian, president and CEO of the Women's Funding Alliance, host of today's event.

Every year, the Alliance invests more than $1 million in women and girls living in Washington state, including through the gender equity initiative 100% Talent.

In case you haven't heard of it, 100% Talent is working to close the gender pay gap in our state, which, Vivian notes, is bigger than the national wage gap (in our state, women are paid 77 percent of what men are paid vs. the national average of 79 percent).

To do that, the Women's Funding Alliance works directly with employers, including some of our region's biggest names (think Amazon, Microsoft and Alaska Airlines).

So, what can you do about it?

Tell HR.

"By getting organizations involved, we have the opportunity to make those small choices that have a big influence," said Vivian.

Small choices that might allow a 10-year-old girl to grow into a woman who's confident that her pay isn't determined by her gender.

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