Boston Fights for Equal Pay

On average, women continue to earn 77 cents for every dollar that a man does. According to a recent report by the City of Boston, women in Boston make around 85 cents to the dollar. While this is above the national average, there are still obvious improvements to be made, and Boston has the plan to do so.

Photo courtesy of Sonicyouth86/Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy of Sonicyouth86/Wikimedia Commons.

To begin with, there are many potential reasons for the enduring wage gap including a larger presence of men than women in leadership roles, which make more money. Until recently, more men than women had college degrees, which corresponded to higher wages. Other reasons for the differences in pay include the lack of affordable child care options for working mothers, the loss of pay for women who are forced to take time off for family reasons, and, of course, discriminatory paying practices.

The good news is that the majority of these are things that can be improved upon and that the government can control. Mayor Thomas Menino recently announced a plan to close the gender wage gap in Boston. While Mayor Menino will not be in office much longer, over 40 local businesses have already signed on, and more are also expected to do so soon.

Businesses in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston. Photo courtesy of Amanda C, Ikard/Gavel Media.

Businesses in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston.
Photo courtesy of Amanda C, Ikard/Gavel Media.

The plan involves three steps, all of which are fairly simple and straightforward. First, the companies conduct an internal review and look at all of their wage data. Mayor Menino is hoping that many companies simply may not be aware of some of the differences in earnings within their company. Then, the company picks and outlines three different tactics to try to improve the difference. The businesses will be provided with a list of potential strategies to be considered by the council that proposed the plan.

Lastly, every two years the companies will anonymously share their pay information with the city to see how much improvement has been made.

US gender pay gap, by state. Photo courtesy of Sonicyouth86/Wikimedia Commons.

US gender pay gap, by state.
Photo courtesy of Sonicyouth86/Wikimedia Commons.

One of the many potential problems with this plan is that the whole plan relies on the honesty of the companies. Since every company that has signed on did so voluntarily, they have already signaled their commitment to remedying this problem by providing accurate data.

While it may not be possible that the city is capable of fixing some of the deeper issues that women face in the workplace, the new plan shows that both the City of Boston and all of the businesses that have signed on are serious about addressing it.

Featured photo courtesy of alexanderljung/Flickr.

Comments