Why should you be a part of AAUW?

The national AAUW Board of Directors has studied the financial position and obligations of AAUW as well as its strategic goals. At its October 16, 2020, meeting, the AAUW Board voted to increase Individual Member dues for the next three years. The dues will rise by $3 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, $5 for FY 2023 and $5 for FY 2024, making the total dues amount for those years $62, $67 and $72, respectively. All but $3 of annual dues remains tax deductible.

Now that we know what the dues increase will be, each member will have to make a decision. It is the same decision you make for every expenditure: first, can you afford it, and second, is what you’re getting for your money worth it? We don’t want anyone to give up food and medicine for AAUW. But if you can afford it, is it worth the additional $3-$10 to you to belong to a national organization that promotes equity for women and girls?

In order to make this decision properly, you need to be familiar with what national AAUW does. When was the last time you looked at the AAUW national website? It has been updated. For example, you can view the recording of the Sept. 22 Town Hall, when Kimberly Churches discussed AAUW’s financial position, here (scroll way down)

Is it important to you that AAUW takes public positions on matters of national importance that impact women and girls?

Is it important to you that AAUW commissions groundbreaking research like this study co-authored by Dr. Mary Gatta?

Is it important to you that AAUW has well-qualified professional leadership? Two examples: Kimberly Churches, who has been a transformative leader; and Kate Nielson, who has helped us write state legislation and continues to advise on our legislative priorities from a lawyer’s perspective.

Is it important to you that AAUW has acquired the rights and sponsorships for a leading online training program in salary negotiation, Work Smart?

I haven’t even included the resources for branches that are available on the website to help you organize and advocate.

Do you want to belong to a nonpartisan national organization with AAUW’s mission, history, and authoritative reputation? Check out the press notices.

If you just want to have lunch with friends, any dues are too much. But if you want to be a part of the national quest to advance equity for women and girls, it will take a long-term commitment.

The decision will be yours.

A Letter on Florida Proposed Constitutional Amendment 2

We often hear of job growth, but what we don’t hear is whether these jobs pay a living wage. Amendment 2 would raise the minimum wage in Florida to $15 over six years. Twenty-seven states have raised their minimum wage since 2014. 

What is a living wage? AAUW Florida recently commissioned studies on the economic security of Florida retired, Hispanic, and Black women. These studies use realistic estimates of living expenses based on locality and family type, and include some retirement and emergency savings. Many of these women are not economically secure.

A single mother with one preschooler and one child in school, in a job without benefits, needs $60,420 annually, not including extras such as Internet, which is almost a necessity for that student. Our studies found that women of color tend to be concentrated in such occupations. The current minimum wage provides only $17,800 annually.

How can she survive on $8.56 per hour? Food stamps, friends and family, a second job, and skimping. An hourly wage of $15 might enable her to skimp less, improving the health and security of her family.

But won’t a $15 minimum wage destroy jobs and businesses? Not according to numerous economic studies. Check out the myths and facts about minimum wage increases at https://bit.ly/30xD2WW.

AAUW members and branches: Click the link below for more talking points on Amendment 2.

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

Kay Smith, Director for Public Policy, and Pat DeWitt have put together some materials for branches to use in raising awareness of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, August 13. As Mary Gatta’s research has shown,  Black women in Florida are concentrated in occupations where they are on the front lines of the pandemic, and yet they are economically insecure. These circumstances present us with the opportunity to raise awareness of the need for a higher minimum wage and paid sick leave for all workers.

These materials include suggested letters to newspapers and other outlets, as well as infographics for use in social media. In addition, you may wish to forward Mary Gatta’s report or its executive summary to your local decision-makers  with a note about Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.

This would also be a great time to forward a link to Mary Gatta’s video presentation on her research to other organizations in your community.

Create your own messaging using the examples below, and get the word out! (Note: clicking on these links will download the documents)

Noteworthy Findings from Gatta Research–create your own letter!

Letter example: 268 words.

Brief (241 words) fact-intensive letter.

Longer (337 words) fact-intensive letter.

Infographics (ZIP file)

Proclamation for Mayor/City Manager/County Commission etc.

Lessons Learned from Women Suffragists

Did you think all the battles for women’s influence on government happened in the past? Did you think the tactics of the suffragists aren’t relevant today? If any such thoughts have crossed your mind, please continue to read.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Kimble Medley, Florida Women’s Vote Centennial chair, has dedicated herself to uncovering the history of suffragists in Florida and in particular in Flagler County. She challenges us not only to discover the history of suffragists in our own area, but to follow their example of rational argumentation, fearless advocacy, cultivation of intelligence, and tenacity. We have many tools for our advocacy that were not available to the suffragists, and yet they prevailed.

View Kimble’s complete presentation on Vimeo . Then use the following bibliography, keyed to the presentation, to learn more.

IntroductionHewitt, Nancy. “Varieties of Women’s Suffrage”. Florida Humanities Council. Vol. XVIII, No. 3, Winter 1995/1996. p. 22-27.https://floridahumanities.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Vol_18_No_3_Winter_1995-1996.pdf
FloridaTaylor, A. Elizabeth. “The Woman Suffrage Movement in Florida”. The Florida Historical Quarterly. Vol. 36,No. 1, July 1957, p. 42 – 60. 
 Weatherford, Doris. “A New Century, 1901-1920”. They Dared to Dream. University Press of Florida: Gainesville. 2015.https://d2r6h7ytneza1l.cloudfront.net/title/85361f25-2125-493b-864f-0511e5092f86/weatherfordexcerpt.pdf
 Shaw, Anna Howard. “The Fundamental Principle of a Republic”. Gifts of Speech. June 21, 1915. http://gos.sbc.edu/s/shaw.html
 Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920. Indiana University Press. Bloomington: IN. 1998. p. 21-40. 
Silent Sentinels“Detailed Chronology National Woman’s Party History”. The Library of Congress | American Memory.https://www.loc.gov/static/collections/women-of-protest/images/detchron.pdf 25 October 2018.
 Taylor, A. Elizabeth. “The Woman Suffrage Movement in Florida”. The Florida Historical Quarterly. Vol. 36,No. 1, July 1957, p. 53-54. 
More Florida SuffragistsVance, Linda. “May Mann Jennings”. Forum: The Magazine of the Florida Humanities Council. Vol. XVIII, No. 3, Winter 1995/1996. p. 10-15.https://floridahumanities.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Vol_18_No_3_Winter_1995-1996.pdf
 Hewitt, Nancy. “Varieties of Women’s Suffrage”. Florida Humanities Council. Vol. XVIII, No. 3, Winter 1995/1996. p. 22-27.https://floridahumanities.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Vol_18_No_3_Winter_1995-1996.pdf
 “Blanche Armwood”. TampaPix.com. https://www.tampapix.com/armwood.htm 
 Wright, E. Lynne. “Mary McLeod Bethune 1875-1955: Daughter of Slaves, Advisor to Presidents”. More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Florida Women. Guilford, CT: The Global  Pequot Press, 2001, 31-42. 
Earlier Women’s AdvocatesE. Susan Barber. “One Hundred Years Toward Suffrage: An Overview”. National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/wori/learn/historyculture/womens-suffrage-history-timeline.htm
 “The Women of the Boston Tea Party”. Metolius Artisan Tea. August 28, 2017.https://www.metoliustea.com/blog/2017/4/28/the-women-of-the-boston-tea-party
 “Detailed Chronology National Woman’s Party History”. The Library of Congress | American Memory. 25 October 2018.https://www.loc.gov/static/collections/women-of-protest/images/detchron.pdf
 Abbott, Alice Scott. “To the Dear Women of Flagler County:”. The Flagler Tribune. October 7, 1920. 
 “Interlachen”. The Palatka News and Advertiser. The Library of Congress – Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers. June 26, 1914, pg. 5, Image 5. 

Racism and Economic Insecurity

In this time of national crisis, AAUW National has taken a strong stand against systemic racism, and AAUW Florida has followed suit (see below). As AAUW, we call for justice and equity for all. But our primary and special mission is equity for women and girls. Amid the concern for so many Black men unjustly killed, we need to remember that economic security for women of color will benefit everyone in their communities.

We know that economic insecurity leads to poorer health outcomes and consequently a greater susceptibility to diseases, not limited to COVID-19.  Economic insecurity adds significantly to the stress level of Black women, who are already stressed by the social situation and the coronavirus pandemic. It has also been shown that stress itself contributes to poor health outcomes.

Working black women were the topic of Dr. Mary Gatta’s most recent reportWorking Black Women in Florida and Economic Insecurity: A Story of Gender and Racial Inequality. She found that “Black women experience the highest levels of economic insecurity in Florida, relative to other race/sex groups. In the state, 61% of all Black workers are economically insecure. And among Black workers in Florida, 66% of all Black women and half of Black full-time working women do not earn enough to reach economic security for their family type.”

We need to consider how we can most effectively promote the policy recommendations from this report:

  • Address gender and race inequities in the Florida labor market including the gender/race pay gap and occupational segregation. 
  • Invest in leadership programs for girls and women to enter gender and race nontraditional careers. 
  • Increase opportunities for professional development and awareness of gender and race bias in education and careers. 
  • Raise the minimum wage and subminimum tipped wage in Florida. 
  • Address childcare barriers that impact mothers’ labor market participation
  • Provide paid leave and paid sick days to all Florida workers. 
  • Address and remedy sex, gender and race-based harassment in occupations. 
  • Provide financial planning for Florida girls and women. 

AAUW Florida joins the country in mourning the recent losses of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, as well as the many earlier losses that have included Floridians like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.  These and countless other people of color have been unjustly killed across our nation because of systemic racism and persistent attitudes that Black and Brown communities are less deserving of basic human and civil rights.   

These deaths reflect deeply ingrained, long-standing divisions in our society. And they come at a time when the pandemic has given rise to hate around the world, with rampant acts of violence across the nation, and the spread of misinformation, racial stereotyping and fear. 

As an organization, we feel compelled to condemn injustice and discrimination and to reaffirm our commitment to live by our values and cultivate an organization that makes equality, diversity and openness priorities – an organization that sets an example for the greater community. 

Therefore, we pledge to advocate for racial equality; petition our policy makers to focus on the range of actions needed to respond directly to race and gender biases; and support our National organization’s efforts in advancing policies and systemic changes that address public safety, effective community policing, and racial and economic oppression.   

Signed:Patricia Ross, President, AAUW Florida, Kayester Lee-Smith, Director for Public Policy, Patricia DeWitt, President-Elect

Advocate for Fair Pay Legislation in Florida!

AAUW of Florida has an urgent request for your advocacy in the pay equity area, and you don’t even have to leave home! We need you to write a physical letter or email from your own address next week if possible. The Florida legislative session is short and committees will stop meeting in a few weeks. We have been advised that mass emails are usually simply deleted, so personal messages are of great importance.

The “ask” of your message will be: “Please schedule House Bill 739 (or recommend it for scheduling) for a hearing in the Business and Professions Subcommittee as soon as possible.” This bill has been filed for the fourth time in the Florida legislature, and it has never been heard in committee. It would have to be favorably reported out of three committees before it could reach the House floor, but the first step is a hearing in the first committee to which it has been assigned.

Please write a personal message to the chair of the committee, Representative Heather Fitzenhagen; the vice chair, Representative Amber Mariano; and the Speaker of the House, José Oliva. If the Speaker says not to schedule the bill, it will not be scheduled. Addresses are below.

House Bill 739 and its companion Senate Bill 90 provide the following protections:

  • Employers can’t retaliate against individuals involved in legal proceedings to enforce the law
  • Employers can’t retaliate against employees who discuss wages
  • Employers can’t reduce another employee’s pay to comply
  • Employers can’t request salary history
  • Employers can’t provide less favorable career opportunities based on sex

In addition, employer defenses are clarified: they must be job-related and agreement for a lesser wage is not a defense. The law, if passed, would apply to all employees including those covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (which has fewer protections).


  • I am requesting a hearing in the Business and Professions Subcommittee for HB 739, Discrimination in Labor and Employment. (this doesn’t have to come first–use your own thoughts, but do include it somewhere).
  • Include some of the talking points in the documents listed above (Pay Equity Florida for Legislators, Further fair pay talking points)
  • Thank the Chair/Vice Chair/Speaker for their attention and work for the people of Florida.

Thank you for being an advocate for women’s economic security in Florida.

Pat DeWitt, AAUW Florida President-elect and Economic Security Chair

Legislator Panel in Palm Beach County

On Saturday, October 12, I moderated a panel of legislators invited by the Palm Beach County branch of AAUW. The panelists were Sen. Bobby Powell of District 30 of the Florida State Senate, Sen. Lori Berman of District 31, and US Congress Representative Lois Frankel. All are supportive of our issues. In hopes that this might provide a useful model and alert you to some current issues, I am posting the questions I sent out to these legislators ahead of time. The topics of AAUW’s interests were economic security, civil rights, and educational equity. You may download the document below:

We were not able to cover all the topics. If you use this document, you might want to pick and choose, and modify in the case of less friendly lawmakers. The legislators did have interesting comments. Sen. Linda Stewart has filed the Helen Gordon Davis Equal Pay Protection Act again this year as SB 90, along with Berman, Lauren Book (Dist. 32) and Janet Cruz (Dist. 18) as co-sponsors (see below). Berman unsuccessfully filed what she called a “carrot bill” last year to favor companies that demonstrated pay equity in state contracts, but the committee hearing she was promissed never occurred. She pointed out that two thirds of minimum wage employees in Florida are women, and that healthcare is a major issue in their economic security. Sen. Powell mentioned his intense interest in this issue because of his daughters. US Representative Frankel noted that the US House has already passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would cover the same ground as the Helen Gordon Davis act in Florida. It has not been considered in the Senate.

In terms of civil rights, Sen. Berman pointed out that the parental consent bill may pass in the Florida legislature (SB 404, HB 265). It would require parental consent for abortions performed on minor children. Presently, Florida simply requires notification. This will cause problems in chaotic family situations and in situations of family sexual abuse. Rep. Frankel supports the national Women’s Health Protection Act (see below), which would counteract the many state efforts to limit access to abortion and threaten providers. When I mentioned AAUW’s support for restoring voting rights to former felons, Sen. Powell mentioned that there are groups organizing in the area to address the issue of financial obligations which have been labeled a poll tax.

The legislators were asked how we can best influence legislation to support our issues. They offered several worthwhile suggestions:

  • Be authentic and bring in personal stories whenever possible. Part of being authentic is speaking for yourself and not sending canned messages. We love our Two Minute Activist, but Sen. Powell said it is possible to just filter out these messages. Write your own by going to the legislator’s website and filling out their forms. You can also tweet them on their sites.
  • Infiltrate organizations that are not as friendly to your issues!
  • Make sure the legislator knows that you are a constituent and recruit other constituents to advocate.
  • Always say thank you to legislators who do support your issues.

With reference to the above, we presented Sen. Lori Berman with a framed resolution thanking her for her continued support for equal pay legislation.

Introducing Kay Smith: New Public Policy Director

As my term as Public Policy Director of AAUW Florida comes to an end, I am extremely pleased to introduce you to our new Director for Public Policy, Kay Lee-Smith. She is well-qualified and enthusiastic, and we are very fortunate to have her join the board. Since she agreed to be a candidate too late for her bio to be included in the spring Florivision, you may read it below, in her own words.

I urge you to give Kay your wholehearted support as she works to advance our public policy in Florida. This work takes place not just during Lobby Days, although that is important. We need to be advancing equity for women and girls all year long, and we cannot do that by just meeting together and enjoying our own company. Legislators will vote for bills that people support, and if they will not do so, the people will elect others. Where do we come in? We need to let the legislators know what kinds of things we would like to see in state government. We need to try to get others to join us, or to join others, so that our combined voices may be heard. These are trying times for equity for women and girls, and we cannot advance it by keeping silent. If we do not speak up and bear witness, women and girls stand to lose what has been gained throughout our lifetimes. So be strong, be civil but principled, and above all, be there!

Patricia DeWitt, incoming President-Elect, AAUW of Florida

K. Lee-Smith, Ph.D.
Director of Public Policy, AAUW Florida

Dr. Lee-Smith is a public servant with experience in the fields of Project Management; Business and Community Planning; Policy Analysis; and Research, Real Estate, and Systems Administration.  She received a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Jackson State University, Jackson, MS.  Dr. Lee-Smith is a member of the Tampa Florida Branch of AAUW, where she has served as Newsletter Chair and Director of Communications.  

Dr. Lee-Smith joined AAUW because of the vision, “Bringing together Individuals with a common goal of breaking through education and economic barriers for all women.”  Her goal as AAUW Florida Director of Public Policy is to help promote the agenda for women by advocating for the passage of all legislation regarding women’s rights.  

Dr. Lee-Smith is also a member of the Tampa Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she serves on the Economic Development and Social Action Committees.  She is also a member of Pi Sigma Alpha and Phi Gamma Mu Honor Societies, the American Society of Public Administrators, and the Conference of Minority Public Administrators. Her research interests are environmental, economic, healthcare, and educational disparities. 

Dr. Lee-Smith is married to the LTC (Retired) David Smith and they have three children Tara, David II, and Jon-Kyle.  She is a member of the United Methodist Church and currently attends St. James UMC, Tampa, Florida.  She believes success equals a trained mind and a heart inspired by God. 

AAUW and Abortion Bans

This year’s state legislative season has seen extreme restrictions on abortion in several states voted into law, including so-called “fetal heartbeat bills” and even a near-andtotal ban on abortion in Alabama. More than 15 states have proposed or passed such bills. The motivation appears to be to generate a challenge to the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, which as it stands would prevent these bills from becoming enforced law. They will be challenged in the courts, but supporters hope the new Supreme Court will overturn Roe.

AAUW continues to support a woman’s self-determination in her reproductive health decisions. Deborah Vagins, AAUW’s senior vice president for public policy and research, has recently set out an appeal to donate so that AAUW may help counter these attempts to turn the clock back to the 1950s. AAUW has joined dozens of organizations nationwide to stand against the bans.

It is my hope as Director for Public Policy and soon-to-be President-elect that AAUW of Florida will wholeheartedly support AAUW’s position regarding reproductive freedom. I also realize that this is a troubling topic for some. If you are troubled, please read the rest of this post, which seeks to go beyond gut reactions and to bring some actual information to the topic.

As educated women, AAUW’s membership should be a receptive audience for facts and information to counteract false claims and misinformation. To begin, the bills that have passed in several states are called “fetal heartbeat bills” by both supporters and opponents. This implies that physicians can detect a “lub-lub” audible heartbeat as early as six weeks. To the contrary, according to Rewire.News, what is being detected is an electrical pulse from something called the fetal pole, a thick area alongside the yolk sac that extends from one end of an embryo to the other. Not the bouncing babies shown on billboards begging their mothers not to kill them! At the fetal pole stage, there is no heart at all.

Now for some more facts:

  • Under English common law, abortion was legal until “quickening” (about the fourth month). In the mid-1800s, most states made all abortions illegal under most circumstances. By 1973, legal abortions were available in 17 states. Abortion Law
  • Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion but allows for individual states to pass laws regulating abortion in the second and third trimesters. From the majority opinion: “We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacyincludes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.” What are those state interests? “…at some point the state interests as to protection of health, medical standards, and prenatal life, become dominant.”
  • According to the Guttmacher Institute, 75% of abortion patients are low income, 60% are in their 20s, and 59% already have a child. Racially, they are 39% white, 28% black, 25% Hispanic, 6% Asian or Pacific Islander, and 3% other. 62% are religiously affiliated.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, of the 638,169 abortions reported by states (three did not report):
    • 4% were performed at 8 weeks of gestation or less
    • 7% were performed at 9-13 weeks of gestation
    • 3% were performed at 21 weeks or more
  • Among the 39 areas that reported to the CDC by marital status for 2015, 14.3% of all women who obtained an abortion were married, and 85.7% were unmarried.
  • In 2015, Florida reported 72,023 abortions to the CDC. Florida did not report abortion patients by age or gestational age of the fetus.
  • The CDC found that, in 2014, only six women were identified to have died as a result of complications from legal induced abortion.
  • Contraception methods can fail. The CDC reports a 9% failure rate for the “pill”, patch and ring, and 12% for the diaphragm. Male condoms fail at 18%. IUDs are among the most effective methods of contraception (failure rate .2%).
  • A fact from another source: (p. 3) 81% of single mothers in Florida have incomes below the Basic Economic Security Tables (BEST) index, which benchmarks the income a family needs for basic expenses plus emergency and retirement savings.
  • In spite of the picture created from the statistics, of a typical abortion patient being an impoverished single mother in her 20s, women 40 years old or more received 3.5% of all abortions.
  • In an attempt to portray themselves as fellow human beings, women who have had abortions are starting to tell their stories. (more stories) Some common reasons for unintended pregnancy include:
    • Birth control failure
    • Abusive relationships
    • Rape
    • Coercion
    • Poor judgment
  • Some reasons for choosing abortion include not being ready to be a mother, physical difficulties short of life-threatening, not being able to afford another child, and severe fetal abnormalities.

Here’s what I learned from these statistics: abortion is not terribly rare. It has been practiced for centuries. Today, it is extremely safe. Around 90% of all abortions are performed before 13 weeks of gestation. Women in their 20s are the primary abortion patients, and black women are disproportionately represented among them, as are women living in poverty. Many of these women have used contraception, but it failed. Many of them already have one or more children, and they likely will have trouble affording the expenses of another child.

However, as the stories tell, there are many reasons for having an abortion, and many different kinds of women have them. Each story is unique. Read them. For some, you might think the woman could have made another choice, but for others, only the most hard-hearted or medically uninformed would deny her right to choose an abortion. That is why “AAUW trusts that every woman has the ability to make her own informed choices regarding her reproductive life within the dictates of her own moral and religious beliefs. Further, AAUW believes that these deeply personal decisions should be made without government interference.”





Pay Equity Audits and State Procurement

Rep. Fentrice Driskell and Sen. Lori Berman have filed bills, H 633, S 652: State Procurement, that would reward state contractors who establish a process for determining that they pay men and women equally for equal work. The Department of Management Services would establish a certification program, and procurement would favor certified contractors.

You may wonder, as I did, how the criteria would be established for ensuring pay equity. The company payscale.com does some very interesting research and has some excellent suggestions as to how to conduct a pay audit.

In the recorded webinar I viewed, a researcher from payscale.com reported on his and other research showing that if you control for all the factors influencing salary, the pay difference between men and women is only about 2%. He stated that both the controlled and the uncontrolled pay gap are important. The control factors include such things as years of experience and job category. Biases are built into these, because women may take time out of the workforce and they are often funneled into job types that pay less. He showed research comparing men and women at early career, midcareer, and late career stages. At mid and especially late career, women are less likely to hold managerial and executive positions than men.

The presenters pointed out that pay equity laws are becoming more stringent in certain states and that this trend is likely to continue. Therefore, a company needs to protect itself against lawsuits by complying in advance with proper pay equity standards and by monitoring bias. One thing to look out for is that the job description for an individual should match what they are actually asked to do, especially when elements of that job description are compensable.

A large company can do advanced statistical analysis to study pay equity using multiple regression, but that takes specialized knowledge which is not usually available to a small company. Even if they hire an outside consultant with expertise, they may not have enough employees to yield satisfactory statistical results. However, the presenters suggested certain analyses that could be done using Excel (or a tool that they provide). First the company needs to collect data including job type, job level, demographics, full or part-time status, performance ratings if they exist, and of course pay. He stated that the gender breakdown across department/job group/job level may explain a lot of the uncontrolled pay gap, due to occupational segregation. That needs to be compared with appropriate outside reference groups.

To start the analysis, employees should be grouped by job family (such as accountants), job title, and similar departments might be grouped together. Once the groups are determined, the salary range can be calculated. The presenter suggested two statistics to describe where the individual falls in the salary range: the range penetration, which is simply how far up the individual salary falls within the salary range; and the compa-ratio, which is the salary divided by the range midpoint. (That midpoint would be the median rather than the average.) Then the analyst would compare the different demographic groups according to the statistics. The example shown was Accountant I, male versus female, showing that the range penetration of the males was 48% compared with 30% for the females. Excel could calculate a simple statistical test using this number, but the power of that test would be dependent on the number of employees involved. The presenter suggested that when looking at the data in a systematic way, the employer would probably be able to see where the problems are.

The presenter stated that if a lawsuit were involved, the fact that the company conducted a good-faith analysis would be persuasive. The methodology itself would be of secondary consideration at this point in time. Also, if employees know that the employer is looking carefully at pay equity, they might be less likely to sue. That good-faith effort was also described in the following suggestions that a company can use to ensure pay equity:

What else can you do to ensure pay equity?

  • Look at your promotion velocity.
    • Examine your processes and identify areas where bias can come in.
  • Have a clearly defined process for promotions.
  • Price a position, not a candidate
  • Encourage employees to discuss pay-related matters.
    • Talk to employees about how your pay decisions are made.
  • Audit your pay practices on a regular basis
  • Analyze your talent acquisition sourcing practices.
    • Identify areas where bias can come in.
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