Why Gender Equity in the Workplace & Our Story:
Over 50% of the population in Franklin County are women. In Central Ohio, one in four women is economically insecure. Women, on average, earn 81 cents for every dollar earned by white men, and Black and Hispanic women earn just 64 cents and 54 cents, respectively, for every dollar earned by white men.
In 2019, our partner organization, The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio commissioned a report, Assets for Equity, exploring the gender wealth gap. Wealth is often a better indicator of economic security as it goes beyond just wages or one's income and understands how an individual is able to weather an emergency. The research found that in the US, single women, on average, own 40 cents to every dollar owned by a single male. The reality is worse for women of color. Single Latinas own 4 cents to every dollar and Black women own only 2 cents to every dollar owned by their male counterpart.
The research report also outlines the barriers throughout a woman’s lifetime that impacts wealth. While many of the barriers are systemic policies at the local and state legislative levels (banking, loans, housing, etc.), loss of wealth also seems to be compounded in the workplace. Lack of access to equitable policies that help build and retain wealth such as paid family leave, paid sick days, child care support, health care benefits, etc. Research also shows that women face implicit biases in the workplace that often creates barriers towards upward movements, even when controlling for other factors.
McKinsey & Company finds from their Women in the Workplace 2019 study that about 1 in 5 C-suite executives is a woman—and only 1 in 25 C-suite executives is a woman of color. They also report that the biggest obstacle women face on the path to senior leadership is at the first step up to manager. For every 100 men promoted and hired to manager, only 72 women are promoted and hired. Men end up holding 62 percent of manager-level positions, while women hold just 38 percent.
These workplace issues exacerbate and contribute to the economic insecurity faced by many women. In 2017, the Women’s Commission launched The Columbus Commitment: Achieving Pay Equity to bring Columbus employers to the frontlines of change. While there are no simple solutions to closing the gender and race based pay gap, it’s clear that investing in women strengthens the economic backbone of our community. Empowering women begins with understanding what contributes to these pay disparities, eliminating implicit bias and leveling the playing field. Moving the goal line from equal pay for equal work to 100% pay equity is the fuel that will make our community thrive.
The Columbus Commitment is a voluntary and employer-led pledge. Together, we learn and find best practices for building gender equitable workplaces. The intent is to share best practices and experiences with other signatories in order to improve our community’s overall gender and race-based wage gap and achieve pay equity.
We hope you’ll join us in signing The Columbus Commitment: Achieving Pay Equity.