Tech leaders support move to let workers openly discuss their pay, in push for gender equity

sarah-birdWashington state’s Equal Pay Act dates to the 1940s, requiring men and women to receive the same pay for the same work.

More than seven decades later, a bill up for discussion in the state Legislature last week aimed to ensure that equitable pay actually happens by requiring employers to allow employees to openly discuss their compensation with their colleagues if they wish to do so.

“If our intent is to have fairness, why haven’t we achieved it?” said Sarah Bird, the CEO of Seattle-based online marketing technology company Moz, testifying Friday morning before the Washington Senate Commerce & Labor Committee. One reason, she said, is the element of secrecy that surrounds questions of compensation.

“I have seen first-hand, in my own company, this insidious belief that to be professional you’re not allowed to talk about how much money you make,” Bird said. She added later, “I want to help flip that, and I’m asking for your help to flip that. Professionals can and should talk about their pay, and it shouldn’t be a nasty dirty secret that you get dinged upon for talking about.”

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Published by waworkfam

The Washington Work and Family Coalition includes representatives of seniors, women, labor, health professionals, children’s advocates, faith communities, low income workers, employers, non-profits and other organizations. We’re working together to make it easier for parents to raise healthy children and care for aging parents; for workers to care for themselves or their partners in the event of a serious illness; and for businesses to offer modern workplace standards that improve productivity and worker health.

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