NEWS: State Legislators Call for End to Gender Pay Gap in Alaska

Rep. Geran Tarr

Sen. Gardner, Rep. Tarr, and Rep. Drummond Join National Push for Equal Pay on 7th Anniversary of Lilly Ledbetter Act

January 29, 2016

JUNEAU — Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), Representative Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage), and Senator Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) are joining lawmakers in more than 20 states in commemorating the 7th anniversary of President Obama signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  They are calling attention to the ongoing gender pay gap in Alaska.

“It makes no sense that men make, on average, more than women for the same work,” said Rep. Tarr, who is sponsoring HB 197 in the Alaska House of Representatives.  “Every single day women in Alaska are losing out financially just because of their gender.  This impacts families and is a matter of fairness.”

Currently women make up an estimated 48% of the workforce in Alaska but they only take home 38% of the wages. 

“Equal pay is more than just the paycheck.  It’s about fairness and the future stability and well-being of our society.  With so many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, equal pay for equal work could mean saving for a home, retiring with dignity, or sending your kids to college,” said Jayne Andreen, Statewide Chair of the Alaska Women’s Lobby.  “The fastest growing segment of our population living in poverty are children in single parent households, and the majority of single parent households are led by women.  In the best interests of our children, we need to ensure all women are able to earn the same wages as their male counterparts.”

Despite the work of national, state, and local lawmakers, progress on the gender pay gap has remained largely stagnant in the United States.  Currently, women make on average 79 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same work. In Alaska, it’s even less with women making 67 cents for every dollar men make.

“While the stubborn logjam continues in our nation’s capital, many are growing weary of waiting for federal legislation on equal pay,” said Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations for the American Association of University Women.  “Our members are excited that Alaska is joining a contingent of states who are taking action to close the gender pay gap, improve economic security for women and their families, and strengthen their statewide economies.”‎

As part of the “Equal Pay Can’t Wait” week of action, legislators are introducing bills, hosting press conferences, submitting resolutions, and engaging their constituents about equal pay for women.  The national effort is coordinated by the State Innovation Exchange in partnership with the American Association of University Women, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and Make it Work, among others. 

“YWCA Alaska believes that the persistent wage gap between working men and women is a barrier to women’s success and the success of Alaska.  If we do nothing, Alaskan women will not see equal pay until 2142.  That’s why we must act now,” said Hilary Morgan, CEO of YWCA Alaska.  “In 2014, YWCA Alaska passed a bold resolution to eliminate the gender pay gap in Alaska by 2025, thereby becoming the first organization in the country to put a deadline on achieving pay equity.  Help us make history and join the EconEquity movement today.”

For more information, contact Bernice Nisbett in Rep. Tarr’s office at (907) 465-3424.



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