ST. GEORGE — The St. George chapter of Utah Business Women met Tuesday to empower and promote pay equity in the workplace. The members of the organization met at Abbey Inn on Bluff Street in St. George for a luncheon and then a round-table discussion on equality of pay.
Statistics were first shown from the National Organization for Women, stating that women’s median annual paychecks were only 78 percent of their male counterparts. Many stories relating to the discrimination of women were discussed.
Katie Woods, an attorney in St. George, said she was shocked when she found out that a male employee, two years her junior, made significantly more than she did at a firm they both worked at in Las Vegas. This man had been admitted to two fewer bars then she, but his salary was 25 percent higher than Woods. She didn’t know about the salary discrepancy until she ran into him after she had left the firm.
The group then discussed their concern over the state of Utah’s noted substandard pay equity. In a 2011 study of metropolitan areas reported by Yahoo Finance in March 2013, Provo-Orem, and Ogden-Clearfield were shown as the top two worst paying areas for women in the country. In Provo-Orem the median income for a woman is $31,846, while the median income for a man is $51,692. Ogden-Clearfield is slightly better with a median income of $34,018 for women and $52,184 for men.
One of the networking group’s suggestions was for women to have open discussion and water cooler talk with others in the workplace. Also, women should educate themselves on the appropriate salary range for their position and have confidence in their abilities.
“You have to do your homework,” said Barbara Lefler of Red Rock Center. “When I went into the job that I have now, I competed against 70 other applicants. When they offered me the position and told me how much they were going to pay me, I already knew what the former executive director was making. I told them, ‘I am okay to start there but if you like my work in 90 days, this is how much I want,’ and that is how much they gave me …. You have to value yourself and you have to do your homework.”
After the luncheon, Payday candy bars were available for purchase at the door. Attached to the candy was a paper that read: “A woman’s payday is 78 percent of a man’s payday for comparable work. Isn’t it time for all of us to have a full payday?”
A member said jokingly that they should take a bite out of them and give it to a man and ask him how it feels to receive only a portion of a payday.
Members were encouraged to attend next month’s luncheon with speaker Janice Brooks on Women’s History.
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