Mayor Murray stands with Councilmembers to support gender equity at the City of Seattle and throughout the region

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle City Councilmembers Jean Godden, Sally Bagshaw, Sally J. Clark, Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant, along with representatives from the Gender Equity for Pay Task Force and the Seattle Women’s Commission reaffirmed the City of Seattle’s commitment to gender equity by presenting comprehensive measures to achieve equity at the City of Seattle and throughout the region.

“I want to express my appreciation to the Gender Equity in Pay Task Force for their work and commitment to addressing gender based disparities in City government and throughout Seattle,” said Murray. “The wage gap between men and women in this region and in this City is real and is an issue of fundamental equity that we can fix.”

“I currently chair the first Council Committee to oversee efforts to end the gender wage gap,” said Godden. “I am committed to the task until our world values the work of women as much as the work of men. We’re not waiting any longer.”

In the Seattle metro area that number drops to 73 cents for every dollar – the worst pay gap in the nation. At the City of Seattle, the pay gap among City employees is significantly smaller, with women earning 90.5 cents for every dollar a man earns. Read the Gender Equity in Pay at the City of Seattle report by the Gender Equity in Pay Task Force here.

To address gender inequities at the City of Seattle, the Mayor and the Council will introduce a joint resolution that instructs the all City Departments in the following:

  • Develop training and strategies that address gender equity in the workplace, with a focus on institutional and structural sexism, and the intersections of race, gender and gender identity.  Provide a deeper analysis of City-wide gender data, specifically overlaying an analysis of race, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and other demographic information.
  • Identify policies and practices that may contribute to disparities, make recommendations for pay, practice and policy adjustments based on findings, examine the root causes of institutionalized barriers to equity and identify strategies to implement change.
  • Conduct a study on Paid Parental Leave, and identify potential strategies and determine best practices, and review, modify and/or propose additional “family friendly” policies.
  • Implement a more consistent City-wide approach to performance management and employee discipline that can be leveraged to further more equitable treatment of employees throughout the City.
  • Create a city-wide leadership and management development program to drive equitable and fair treatment of employees throughout the City and provide targeted and increased opportunities for career growth for individuals in under-represented employee groups.  Dedicate a new staff person to create and manage a program for outreach and recruitment to diverse and under-represented populations.

“Women here and everywhere deserve leaders who care, who listen, and who work to protect their interests,” said Clark. “This Mayor and Council are keenly aware that Seattle’s women are leaning into the fight for equality.”

“Women in our state today have been forced to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the burden from the recent economic recession,” said Sawant. “We must take immediate action. As we discuss raising the minimum wage to $15/hr, we should remember that women make up 70 percent of the tipped workers who live in poverty in this city. A tip credit would greatly exacerbate the existing gender pay gap, and should be rejected.”

The Mayor and City Council will also launch the City’s first ever Gender Equity Initiative, which creates a coalition to address gender disparities within the private sector and throughout the region, through the following:

  • Develop best practices, a gender equity toolkit and partnerships that positively showcase progressive, equity-driven businesses and organizations.
  • Incorporate a gender equity lens in citywide initiatives, such as legislation to increase the minimum wage, with the Seattle community and region.
  • Use the City’s 2014 State Legislative Priorities to encourage statewide legislation that supports working women and families, including paid sick and safe time, family and medical leave insurance, reproductive Parity and others.
  • Participate in a regional effort to identify and address position-based disparities in compensation based on race, gender, or other protected bases.

The City currently has set aside $1.4 million for the purpose of addressing gender equity. Some of these funds have been designated for hiring new personnel in the Office for Civil Rights and the Personnel Department. Additionally, the City Council has signed a Statement of Legislative Intent directing all City departments to conduct internal analyses of wages and employment policies.

“The future depends on each of us doing our part to ensure women and girls have the opportunity to succeed,” said Bagshaw. “On behalf of my one-year-old granddaughter Violet, and women everywhere, I would like to thank Mayor Murray and Councilmember Godden for spearheading the charge to close the gender gap.”

Full video of the press conference: