Equal Pay Day

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Today, April 8, is Equal Pay Day in the United States. That means that the average woman (paid 77 cents for each dollar earned by a man) had to work all of 2013 and until today in order to earn the same wages as a man earned in 2013.

In Seattle, Equal Pay Day won’t come even this soon. Women in this supposedly progressive city receive 73 cents on the dollar. Not until the end of the month will Seattle women earn as much as Seattle men did in 2013 and catch up with the Gender Pay Gap.

However, times may be getting better. Nationally, President Obama and his Democratic allies will work to provide compensation data with a breakdown by race and gender.

Congress is drawing attention to women’s wages. This morning Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss pay. He also directed the Labor Department to issue new rules requiring federal contractors to provide compensation data.

Meanwhile, back in Seattle, Mayor Murray has joined with the council to get the city’s house in order, examine the gender pay gap in city departments and take steps to correct disparities. For the first time, the council has a Gender Equity committee of which I am the proud Chair. The committee will be taking up specific legislation designed to close that gap.