Stenographers at Seattle Lighting Department, 1935 (Photo: Seattle Municipal Archives)
For proudly progressive Seattle, the news was a bombshell.
A report released in April revealed that our metropolitan area has the widest gender pay gap in the country. Women here earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by men.
Response has been swift. The Seattle City Council and Mayor Mike McGinn have taken steps to address wage inequality among city employees. Councilmember Jean Godden plans to introduce legislation to remedy the gender pay gap citywide. And candidates in the upcoming Seattle mayoral election were even questioned about the issue in one recent debate.
The city of Seattle has certainly taken its last-place ranking to heart, so this may come as a surprise to many Seattleites: The city did not, in fact, rank last.
The report on gender pay looked at the 50 largest metropolitan areas — not cities — and it is the Seattle metro that ranked last. The Seattle metro encompasses all of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. It includes the cities of Tacoma, Bellevue, Everett and all the rest. With a population of 3.5 million, it is a much larger area than just Seattle.