Today, surrounded by women directors of Salt Lake City departments and agencies, Mayor Jackie Biskupski proclaimed “Women’s History Month” in Salt Lake City, and signed a new City policy which aims to eliminate systemic bias and discrimination that adds to the under valuation of work performed by women.
The City’s 3.01.09 Gender Pay Equity policy reinforces Salt Lake City’s commitment to equity and diversity, prohibits certain activities which have historically led to gender pay imbalance, and requires Human Resources to conduct regular audits on gender pay equity. Specifically, the policy prohibits individuals participating in City hiring processes from asking an applicant about their current or past salary history.
“Inquiring about an individual’s past salary has historically been a cause of gender pay inequity,” said Julio Garcia, Salt Lake City’s Human Resources Director. “Because women have historically been paid less than men, basing salary decisions on this information, rather than on a similar pay for similar work philosophy, perpetuates a cycle of gender pay inequity.”
A 2017 report by the National Partnership for Women and Families, from data collected by the 2015 U.S. Census American Community Survey, found that Utah women are paid on average 71 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual wage gap of $14,681 annually. The study also concluded this wage gap is found in every area of the State and across industry, occupation, and education level.
“The gender pay gap is costing women, children, and families billions of dollars each year, making it harder for people to pay for education, healthcare, housing, and to save for the future,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Gender pay equity is a family values issue, and as Utah’s Capital City, Salt Lake City has a responsibility to show others in the State how promoting equity, fairness, and diversity benefits our community.”
Last month, the Senate Business and Labor Committee ended discussion of a bill sponsored by Sen. Luz Escamilla which would have studied pay imbalance between men and women at the State level. A bill on paid family leave for state employees also stalled this year. Last year, Mayor Biskupski also instituted a family leave policy, providing City employees regardless of gender or length of service, with six weeks of paid leave. Since that time more than 94 employees have utilized the benefit, including 82 new fathers, many of them with the City’s Police and Fire departments.
The new policy was made effective on March 1, the first day of Women’s History Month. It was championed by City Council Chair Erin Mendenhall who also participated in the ceremonial signing.
“The time is right to press even harder for gender equal pay,” said Erin Mendenhall, City Council Chair. “The list of excuses is long; behaviors entrenched. But no longer do we wait for simple parity on all fronts. Equal pay for equal work, it is that simple.”
Following the policy signing, Mayor Biskupski issued a proclamation declaring March 2018 as “Women’s History Month” in Salt Lake City. Below is a transcript of the proclamation text:
Whereas, whether historic or unrecorded, the accomplishments, contributions, and stories of women of every race, class, and background have enriched the history of Salt Lake City, the State of Utah, and the United States; and
Whereas, dating back to the early 1900s, activists pushed for a designation to celebrate women and highlight their historically-ignored contributions to the family, our communities, and society; and
Whereas, from the first Women’s Day in 1909 grew an international movement, coming to fruition in the forms of the National Women’s History Project, International Women’s Day, Women’s History Weeks, and finally the month-long observance we know today; and
Whereas, through conviction and persistence, women have secured their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity, leading major social change movements such as the abolitionist movement, the emancipation movement, the civil rights movement, and the #MeToo movement; and
Whereas, women have been trailblazers in Utah’s history, such as Martha Hughes Cannon, the first female state senator in the United States; Olene Walker, Utah’s first female governor; Becky Lockhart, the state’s first female speaker of the House; and Deedee Corradini, the first female mayor of Salt Lake City; and
Whereas, in Salt Lake City government, women serve as leaders in over a dozen departments and divisions, including the Mayor’s Office, City Council, Finance, Economic Development, Sustainability, Public Utilities, 911, and more; and
Whereas, Salt Lake City remains committed to equity and diversity, empowering women through policies and ordinances, and celebrating the extraordinary contributions of women in our communities.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Jacqueline M. Biskupski, Mayor of Salt Lake City, do hereby proclaim March 2018, as
Women’s History Month in Salt Lake City