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San Diego’s Gender Pay Gap Narrower Than National Average

Evening Edition

Aired 4/8/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS:


Johanna Schiavoni
, Attorney and President, Lawyers Club of San Diego


Kelly Jenkins-Pultz
, Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Labor

Transcript

San Diego women's groups are joining cities across the country in marking Equal Pay Day.

They say April 8 is not just a random date to help bring the gender pay gap into the headlines. It happens to mark the date when working women have finally caught up to how much working men made in 2013.

According to latest U.S. Census statistics, on average, full-time working-women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men.

The gender wage gap is narrower in San Diego.

"The wage gap in San Diego County is 80 percent. That's because women here generally earn 10 percent more than women across the country while men here earn 7 percent more than their male counterparts elsewhere," says Kelly Jenkins-Pultz, Program Analyst with the U.S. Department of Labor.

In an attempt to equalize the pay gap, President Barack Obama has issued an executive order today which would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay with each other.

California, is one of six states that prohibit employers from disciplining workers for sharing or discussing their salary.

In conjunction with Equal Pay Day, California State Assembly Speaker John Perez announced a Select Committee on Women in the Workplace chaired by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).

“Equal Pay Day is our annual reminder that more and more families are relying on women to be breadwinners and that our economy works best when we acknowledge and accommodate the realities working women face," Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said. "As a single working mother myself, I face this reality every day and I am very excited to work with my colleagues to seek solutions that break down barriers to employment, accommodate women’s roles in their families as well as their jobs, and bring a greater dose of equity to the workplace."

To mark Equal Pay Day, San Diego's Lawyers Club is hosting the Second Annual Equal Pay Day Leadership Luncheon.

Tuesday, President Obama also directed the Labor Department, to issue rules requiring federal contractors to provide aggregate compensation data by race and gender.

Obama's executive order and directive to the Labor Department dovetailed with the start of Senate debate on broader legislation that would make it easier for workers to sue companies for paying women less because of their gender.

The Senate legislation, like Obama's narrower executive order, would forbid companies from punishing workers who share salary information and would allow punitive and compensatory damages in lawsuits.

Republicans are expected to block the bill when the Senate holds a showdown vote, probably Wednesday. The GOP derailed similar legislation in the Senate the past two election years, 2012 and 2010.

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