Here's an important reminder: the gender wage gap is a major problem in this country. Women make up nearly half of the work force in the United States, and yet they still make only a fraction of what their male counterparts earn — 79 cents on the dollar. And the gender gap is even more prominent amongst women of color: On average, African American women are paid only 64 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man, while that number drops to 56 cents for Latina women.
At Tuesday's United State of Women Summit, the White House called upon private-sector companies to work toward correcting this persistent problem by making a public commitment to equal pay. Companies were asked to sign a pledge in keeping with the below statement:
We applaud the growing number of countries that have already made significant progress in closing their gender wage gap. Despite passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which requires equal pay for equal work, the gender pay gap in the United States persists. Women working full-time earn only 79 percent of men’s wages, and we are committed to taking action individually and collectively to reduce that national pay gap. We believe that businesses must play a critical role in reducing the national pay gap. Towards that end, we commit to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay analysis across occupations; reviewing hiring and promotion processes and procedures to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers; and embedding equal pay efforts into broader enterprise-wide equity initiatives. We pledge to take these steps as well as identify and promote other best practices that will close the national wage gap to ensure fundamental fairness for all workers.
So far, 28 companies have taken the pledge, including a number of fashion and beauty brands: Amazon, Gap, Johnson & Johnson, L'Oréal USA, Rebecca Minkoff, and Stella McCartney. The companies have also made statements in support of the initiative. One example from Stella McCartney:
"At Stella McCartney, we are proud of our gender diversity and are dedicated to continuing to foster a gender-balanced workplace. Women occupy 67 percent of our leadership team and we have an even higher number of women across the brand. We place gender equality as a strategic imperative across our talent pipeline. Stella McCartney was recently awarded the EDGE certification, the global standard for gender equality in the work place, across three of our core business centers in the USA, United Kingdom and Italy. Having attained the EDGE certification, we are already committed to continually reviewing hiring and promotion processes and to conducting annual company-wide analysis, including fairness and equal pay for all."
For more information on the Equal Pay Pledge and to see the full list of companies that have signed on, head over to whitehouse.gov.