FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2018
Legislation Introduced to Create the Alaska Commission for Women and Girls
HB 392 Seeks Economic and Legal Justice for Women in Alaska
Juneau – Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) introduced legislation this week to create a Commission for Women and Girls to identify legal problems that prevent women from earning equal pay for equal work in Alaska. The commission will also work to determine best practices to promote economic, social, legal, and political justice for women. House Bill 392 calls for the commission to create a report to be presented to the Alaska Governor and the Alaska Legislature every two years with policy recommendations and a plan of action with achievable goals.
Women earn an average of 68 cents for every dollar a man makes in Alaska for doing the same work, according to a March 2017 report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. A similar report from 30 years ago showed women earned 62 cents on the dollar when doing the same work. The study found this to be true in 80 of Alaska’s occupations and at every age and educational level, even though men and women participate in the workforce at nearly equal rates.
“Six cents growth over 30 years is unacceptable,” said Rep. Tarr. “We know that discrimination is a huge factor in these statistics, and we need a serious investigation of the laws and regulations that prevent Alaska women from reaching their full economic potential.”
Last month, Rep. Tarr sponsored an event in the State Capitol Building in Juneau to call attention to workplace inequity and the need for a more focused approach to get women into leadership positions in Alaska. Among the attendees was Rep. Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage).
“We know that women’s work is every bit as valuable as men’s work, but women continue to be paid less for comparable work – even when all other factors like education, seniority, profession, and job category are controlled,” said Rep. Spohnholz. “It’s time we work to develop solutions to this problem that affects every family with a woman in it.”
The 16-member Commission for Women and Girls called for in HB 392 would be made up of 12 members appointed by the Governor and four members of the Alaska Legislature. The 12 public members would have expertise in law, pay equity, victim advocacy, workforce development, labor, and social justice.
Currently, only 18 of the 60 seats in the Alaska Legislature are held by women. This disparity shows the need to encourage and facilitate more women participating in the legislative process in Alaska.
House Bill 392 was introduced on Wednesday and was referred to the House State Affairs Committee.
For more information, please contact Diana Rhoades in Rep. Tarr’s office at (907) 465-3424 or email Diana.Rhoades@akleg.gov.