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On the 9th Anniversary of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Alaska Women Push for Pay Equity and Economic Justice


January 27, 2018
Saturday PM

(SitNews) Juneau, Alaska - At a time when a national conversation is taking place about sexual harassment, there are Alaska lawmakers and non-profit leaders who believe it is also time to focus on another workplace problem — pay equity. 

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Alaska House Resources Committee Co-Chair Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) and House Minority Leader Rep. Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage) will help focus attention on the issue by sponsoring a lunch and learn event in the Alaska State Capitol on Monday, January 29, 2018 to coincide with the 9th Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Alaska women earn an average of 68 percent of what men make in Alaska, according to a March 2017 report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. There is some progress, but it's moving slowly, according to the report’s author, Karinne Wiebold. While using different sources changes the size of the gap, they all tell the same story.

“Men earn more in nearly 80 percent of Alaska’s occupations and at every age and educational level, even though men and women participate in the workforce at nearly equal rates,” said Wiebold.

Quoting a news release from Representatives Tarr and Millett, many social scientists believe that pay inequality threatens the lives of Alaska’s women and families.

“When women don’t earn enough money to be financially independent, they are vulnerable,” said Carmen Lowry, Executive Director of the Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, one of four panelists who will speak at a free luncheon event Monday at the State Capitol in Juneau. “The fastest-growing segment of our population living in poverty are children in single-parent households led by women. In the best interests of our children, we need to ensure all women are able to earn the same wages as their male counterparts.”

Monday’s free lunch and learn presentation is cosponsored by Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage), who represents the Mountain View neighborhood of Anchorage, which is recognized as one of the most diverse areas in the country. In addition to concerns about gender equity, Rep. Tarr is also concerned about the disproportionate impacts to Alaska Native women and women of color.

“Equal pay is more than just the paycheck; it is about fairness and the future stability and well-being of our society,” said Rep. Geran Tarr.

“We know that Alaskan women go above and beyond in all that they do,” said Rep. Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage), who serves as the Minority Leader in the Alaska House of Representatives. “They deserve to be recognized for their superlative contributions in every aspect of life, including equal recognition in our workplaces.”

It is becoming increasingly clear that the persistent wage gap between working men and women is a barrier to women's success and the success of Alaska.

"When women are underpaid, their options become limited and so does their ability to strengthen our businesses and our state,” said Tamiah Liebersbach, YWCA Alaska Economic Empowerment Manager. “If we do nothing, Alaskan women will not see equal pay until 2142. That's why YWCA Alaska has chosen to directly address this issue by taking the lead to close the gender pay gap in Alaska." 

Monday’s legislative lunch and learn event to celebrate the 9th anniversary of the passage of the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act and to discuss pay equity and economic justice in Alaska will be held from noon until 1 p.m. 

For ten years, Lilly Ledbetter fought to close the gap between women’s and men’s wages in a historic discrimination case against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, where she worked for more than 20 years. Ledbetter won a jury verdict of more than $3 million after having filed a gender pay discrimination suit in federal court, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s ruling, paying her nothing. The Supreme Court decision was later nullified by federal passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which amended the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 to change the statute of limitations for presenting an equal-pay lawsuit so that it begins on the date that the employer makes the initial discriminatory wage decision, not at the date of the most recent paycheck.

The public is invited to attend.

WHAT: Gender Equity Through the Lens of Economic Justice – a legislative lunch & learn to coincide with the 9th Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act 

WHERE: Capitol Building, Room 106, Juneau, Alaska WHEN: Monday, January 29 from Noon to 1 pm

WHO: Rep. Geran Tarr, Rep. Charisse Millett, and invited speakers:

Carmen Lowry, Executive Director, AK Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Karinne Wiebold, Alaska Department of Labor Research and Analysis

Tamiah Liebersbach, Economic Empowerment Manager, YWCA Alaska

Laurie Wolf, MNPL, CFRE, President/CEO, The Foraker Group



On the Web:

Pay Equity - Alaska Women and the Wage Gap - April 2017


Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Office of Alaska House Resources Committee Co-Chair Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage)

Office of Alaska House Minority Leader Rep. Charisse Millett (R-Anchorage)



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