Opportunity in Tulsa: Pay Equity for Everyone

EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK: Mayor Bynum announces the Mayor’s Pay Equity Pledge on March 10, joining members from the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women.

When I took office, the Tulsa City Council and I agreed we wanted to make Tulsa a globally competitive, world-class city. And in Tulsa, we want our city to be a city of opportunity for everyone. 
Driven, as we are at the City of Tulsa, by data we assessed how our community is doing when it comes to people making equal pay for equal work, regardless of a person’s gender. Though women participate in the local workforce at a rate of 73.8% and make up 51.2% of the population, women in Tulsa County still only earn 84 cents to every dollar earned by men.
Acknowledging this disparity in the broader community, we then conducted an internal audit of our city employees – and to our surprise, we found equal pay for equal work was not the case in every single city job. This wasn’t due to intentional sexism, but instead the result of innocent but incorrect processes in hiring and promotion over the years.
So after the Tulsa City Council and I talked, we appropriated nearly $500,000 to fix this inequality. We recognized such an audit needed to happen on an annual basis, and so we now evaluate employee pay yearly to ensure our employees are getting paid equally regardless of their gender.
Along with these evaluations and actions we took, we also realized we could be a community leader when it comes to pay equity in Tulsa. With strong leadership from the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women and the relationships we’ve built with our community partners, we announced our Pay Equity Pledge in March of this year.
This voluntary, employer-led initiative is now in place to help close the gender pay gap in Tulsa.
Those who take the pledge commit to a few things, namely: they ban questions about previous salary history to candidates for hire or promotion; they commit to ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion training for employees responsible for recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and promoting; and they review employee pay to ensure compliance with the Equal Pay Act.
These simple and practical steps are great ways for our businesses to ensure everyone is getting an equal opportunity, regardless of their gender. I am thankful to the various Tulsa employers who have joined the City in taking this inaugural commitment and am eager to see what the future of Tulsa’s workforce holds.
I want to invite every business in Tulsa to consider taking this pledge.
To learn more, see a list of businesses who have taken the pledge, and to take it yourself, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/payequity. 

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