Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dropping Pay Data Collection Removes a Vital Tool Needed to Promote Equality 

The news that the Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget issued a ‘review and stay’ of equal pay data collection is extremely disappointing. At last summer’s Republican National Convention, Ivanka Trump vowed that her father would fight for equal pay for women. However, this move diminishes the Administration’s ability to reach that outcome.

In September, the Indiana Institute for Working Families will publish a first-of-its-kind report on gender disparities in wages, wealth, and poverty. Comparing Hoosier men and women working full time, year round, our wage gap is 24 percent or $11,339. These earnings differences contribute to gaps in assets like home equity and retirement savings. Women in Indiana are also more likely to experience poverty. At the current rate of progress, Indiana’s gender wage gap is not projected to close until 2082.

The revised EEO-1 equal pay data collection form would have increased the speed at which we could close these gaps. At the Institute, we firmly believe that data can fosters productive self-reflection, dialogue, and action. This data collection tool - developed with extensive public input - was designed to both encourage large employers to reflect on their own pay practices and provide useful data to make the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission more efficient and effective. Now, it is less likely that either of those goals will come to fruition.   

Action is needed on multiple fronts to address gender and race-based wage gaps and their far-reaching consequences for families, communities, and our economy. Leading employers in Indiana and beyond have already recognized the importance of pay audits and addressing pay gaps; they know it is the right thing to do and that gender diversity boosts productivity. But not all employers will follow suit. The Administration’s decision to call a halt to this carefully considered, common sense proposal raises serious questions about its commitment to the economic well-being of Hoosier families and our economy.

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