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Spokane Task Force Releases Report on Gender & Race Pay Equity

gender-and-racial-equity-reportThe Gender and Race Pay Equity Task Force for the City of Spokane, which includes members of the Spokane City Council, the City of Spokane Civil Service Department, the City of Spokane Human Rights Commission, representatives of businesses and business associations and academic and nonprofit leaders, held a press conference on Thursday, March 24, at City Hall to release the final draft of their report, “Gender and Racial Equity at the City of Spokane”.

Gender Pay Equity Task Report – Full Report, Final (PDF 11.6 MB)

Gender Pay Equity Executive Summary – Final (PDF 4.4 MB)


City Council Members Karen Stratton and Candace Mumm present the final version of the Gender and Racial Pay Equity Task Report.

The report, which the task force has been working on since May of 2015, begins by explaining that the wage gap is “a national phenomenon” and that “across the United States, women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man. When race is taken into consideration along with gender, the gap grows even larger.” In specifically looking at Spokane’s wage gap in the private sector, the report notes that in 2009 “working women earned 82.7 percent of the earnings of working men” and in 2014, “working women in the City of Spokane earned 78.3 percent of the earnings of working men,” an increase in the wage gap of 4.4 percent in five years.

For women of color, especially Black women and Asian women, the numbers are worse. “Asian women make forty-five percent of what white men make”, and Black women in Spokane “make 47 percent of what white men make.” Women working for the City of Spokane fare better, “making 85 cents for every dollar made by their male counterparts”, while “women of color make 84 cents for every dollar a white man makes at the City.” The report also noted that “higher levels of education do not close the gap”.

In addition to the wage gap, workers at the City of Spokane are not representative of the community, according to the report. “In the private sector, women make up 48 percent of all workers in the City of Spokane,” while in local government, women “account for only 24.2 percent of employees.” Similarly, there is an underrepresentation of people of color in local government when compared to the demographics of the workforce or community. “People of color make up 12.7% of the workforce population, but only 8.5% of employees at the City of Spokane.”

The final report features an in-depth analysis of gender and racial pay gaps within the City of Spokane and in the local government. It includes a set of twenty-two recommendations that if implemented will help close the gap. “This report is designed to empower our members and other advocates with the facts and resources they need to tell the simple truth about the pay gap,” said Spokane City Councilmember Karen Stratton, Co-Chair of the task force. “We hope that our critical and thorough look within the City of Spokane will be an example to the rest of the community.”

This article has been adapted from the April 2016 edition of The Black Lens, Spokane.

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