Letters to the Editor

Letter: Eliminate the gender wage gap

Today, a black woman in Alaska makes 64 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes. This is heartbreaking for me as an African American female. In 2017, women in general made only 72 cents for every dollar their male counterparts made.

This gender gap in pay cuts across all job classes and education levels in Alaska. Alaska Native women fare worse at 62 cents for every dollar, with our Latina, Asian and Hawaiian/Pacific Islander populations trailing behind this figure.

While Alaska has improved its gender gap in wages from 62% for all women in 1990 to 72% in 2017, this continuing wage disparity represents a real difference in take-home pay, retirements and real benefits to women in general and women of color specifically. As we follow on the heels of Black History Month, we must remember that economic equity is a fundamental component of the equality we still seek and that so many of our predecessors have worked so hard to obtain.

Rep. Geran Tarr is sponsoring House Bill 200, Disclosure of Employee Compensation, as a step to help close that gap. The bill addresses hiring practices and company policies that limit disclosure of wage information that disproportionately cost women and minorities. The Alaska Black Caucus remains committed to empowering women by creating an environment of equity in which all women can exercise their human and civil rights. I’m praying House Bill 200 gets scheduled for a hearing immediately and that we as women stand strong, organizing locally and actively until equality is achieved. Please join me in supporting this bill and eradicating this destructive gender gap.

— Celeste Hodge Growden

President, Alaska Black Caucus

Anchorage

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