Pay Equity in Oregon – Moving Forward

Hello AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Department, AAUW of Oregon Leadership Team and Branch Presidents,

Last evening, Tuesday, October 2, I took the opportunity to attend a Community Forum on Equal Pay held in Portland. The event was organized by Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.  Commissioner Avakian has challenged the Oregon Council on Civil Rights to role out a plan to address wage disparity.  (He anticipates Oregon to be the first state in the country with a pay equity plan.) Six council members, one of whom is an AAUW member, attended and heard testimony from attendees. Prior to the testimony, council members gave overviews of five pay equity models–four in Canada and one in Switzerland.
The content and networking opportunities at the event were incredible! AND there will be another similar event in Eugene on November 15. I highly recommend every AAUW member attend. And take your membership recruitment forms!!
For more information:
OR Council on Civil Rights website –
The OCCR invites you to take a survey: Pay Equity Feedback Form. It can be found at Please encourage all AAUW members to take the survey.
Finally……….I have attached notes I took at the event in case you are interested in learning of some details. Feel free to share this message and the attachment.

Breaking through Barriers with Advocacy,

Mardy Stevens
AAUW Leadership Corps

Oregon Council on Civil Rights within the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries
Community Forum on Equal Pay
October 2, 2012

Notes –
1) The council chair’s overview of the council’s work sounded as though we were at an AAUW event! And she acknowledged a lot of the council’s awareness was brought forward by the councilor who just happens to be an AAUW member!!! One male council member referenced Lilly Ledbetter.

2) Attendees included a state senator, a candidate for the Oregon supreme court, a state representative, a Tualatin City Councilor, a staff member at U of O who is secretary of the AFL-CIO, Andrea Paluso of Mother PAC Teressa Raiford, Oregon director of Unite Women, and members of the commissioner’s staff.

3) Comments from testimony included:

* Mothers in the work force, without children, earn more.
* Motherhood is the leading predictor of poverty in old age.
* Need transparency and clear thresholds in monitoring pay equity.
* Fear is a key issue, and it is heightened among minorities.
* There is an impact on whole families when women are not paid fairly. And this progresses to an impact on communities. Pay equity is not just a women’s issue.
* Advice to the councilors: Hold accountable the leaders of groups you talk to.
* Volunteer work is undervalued.
* Women’s family responsibilities impact the pay gap.
* There is a need to address technical support for employers.
* The highest paid individuals in Oregon are Asian men. The lowest paid individuals in Oregon are Hispanic women.

4) Next Steps for the Council:
* Create PSAs to empower.
* Put action plan together in the next few months.