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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 16, 2014 at 7:04 AM

Gender wage gap: Family leave important for gender parity

I commend The Seattles Times’ editorial board for calling upon the city to pay women equal wages for equal work in the editorial “Gender wage gap persists; city should provide equal pay” [Opinion, April 11].

I was surprised, however, by the recommendation for increasing women’s access to training instead of advocating for the City Council’s mandatory paid family- and sick-leave programs. If women make less money than men but complete the same work, it does not seem likely that the problem is a lack of the skills necessary to perform that work.

Besides discrimination, the wage-gap research suggests several big causes for differences in pay. On average, women have less work experience because we are still busy doing most of the caretaking for our children, and sometimes that requires leaving work for a few months or years.

Having a paid family-leave program would both support growing families and it would better ensure that moms would return to work later.

Second, as the editorial suggests, wages in female-dominated positions are lower than wages in male-dominated jobs. Female-dominated jobs are typically considered either less taxing, or they supposedly require fewer skills compared to male-dominated jobs. Both reasons result in less wages for women.

This is an issue of equity, not a lack of training for women. Thanks for looking out for women’s wages. Let’s all promote the best policy solutions.

Jane Oliphant, SeaTac

Comments | More in Womens rights | Topics: gender equity, Jane Oliphant, Seattle City Council

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