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YWCA works to close gender pay gap in Alaska

By Bonney Bowman Photojournalist: Rachel McPherron - 8:56 PM May 18, 2017

The YWCA says ending the gender pay gap in Alaska isn’t just a social justice cause – it’s an economic one as well.

Nationally, women make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Alaska, it’s 68 cents on the dollar, according to the YWCA.

The group held a luncheon Thursday, to discuss how to close the gap in our state more quickly. It featured Natasha Lamb, managing partner of investment firm Arjuna Capital.

Lamb’s firm started an initiative, asking the companies they invest in to disclose what they pay people, then close the gaps between men and women.

“We know that that exists and we know it exists within companies as well and for decades, that information has been locked up in a black box and at the current rate of change, the gender pay gap isn’t expected to close for another 40 plus years,” said Lamb.

She said this kind of initiative helps close the pay gap more quickly by making companies transparent and accountable. The companies are then better able to attract and retain top talent and improve their bottom line.

“If you can remove those structural barriers and get more women into positions of leadership and up the ladder, then that diversity of perspectives, brought by greater gender equity, has been shown to lead to better financial results as well,” said Lamb.

So far, eight companies have disclosed and closed pay gaps in their companies, starting with Ebay. Lamb said it’s one way to proactively work towards men and women receiving equal pay for equal work.

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