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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor announces new investment in Gender Justice Initiative

9/16/2013  11:00:00 AM

Mayor announces new investment in Gender Justice Initiative
$1.5 million reserve will fund pay equalization and Taskforce recommendations

SEATTLE - Today Mayor Mike McGinn announced a $1.5 million reserve to fund future recommendations made by the Gender Equity in Pay Taskforce and help equalize the City of Seattle's gender pay deficit.

"Gender disparity in pay is a real issue for the City," said Mayor McGinn. "That's why we launched a Gender Equity in Pay Task Force. I thank the Task Force for their diligent work toward understanding the City's gender pay issues, and for their recommendations so far. This reserve will allow us to do the right thing and help balance the existing inequities."

Earlier this year, Mayor McGinn directed the City Personnel Department to conduct a review of the City's salary structure and determine if a gender pay disparity existed among City of Seattle workers. This study revealed that men employed by the City of Seattle make approximately 9.5% more than women on average.

In response to this finding, the City convened a Gender Equity in Pay Taskforce made up of community experts. Since August, the Task Force has begun to conduct an in-depth analysis and review of the City's salary data. Based on their work so far, they recommended that the Mayor:

  • Set aside funds now in the 2014 Proposed Budget to be used for implementation of taskforce recommendations. Once recommendations are developed, prioritized and approved, the City would be able to designate the funding appropriately.
  • Fund a position within the Seattle Office for Civil Rights to lead implementation of recommendations from the Gender Equity in Pay Task Force and to lead development and implementation of strategies for the Gender and Social Justice Initiative.

The mayor implemented these recommendations in his proposed budget, setting aside funding for future programs to address the gender pay gap.

The Gender and Social Justice Initiative will be launched in 2014 to expand the scope of this work beyond the City of Seattle to the broader community. Building off of the focus on gender equity in pay, the Initiative will be inclusive of the broader range of issues impacting gender equity, such as safety, family support, health, etc. Similar to the Race and Social Justice Initiative, the Gender and Social Justice Initiative will focus on institutional and structural biases that perpetuate inequitable outcomes. Because of the current reality of both institutional gender and racial biases, recognition will be given to the disproportionate impacts on women of color.

"I am impressed by the mayor's commitment to the issue of equity" said Task Force co-chair Patricia Hayden. "People across the nation are talking about the issue of gender pay disparity. Mayor McGinn is putting his money where his mouth is. The mayor will be looking at pay equalization as well as other programs to address gender pay disparities at the City of Seattle as we consider how best to close the pay gap."

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Office of the Mayor

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