Holding Up a Mirror on International Equal Pay Day
Unequal pay is a pervasive and universal problem. According to the United Nations, “Globally, women only make 77 cents for every dollar men earn. This is a major cause of lifetime income inequality. At current rates, it will take 70 years to close this gap.” Further, “racial prejudices and discrimination compound the effects of gender bias; some of the highest-paying fields tend to exclude women of color.” The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this gap into an even starker relief. The implications of unequal pay are deep and far reaching. But we can all work, as individuals and organizations, to ensure an equal future for all. Equal pay doesn’t just benefit women, but contributes to a just world for all.
EngenderHealth’s Commitment to Equal Pay
Today is International Equal Pay Day and we want to share how we are working to not only close the pay gap, but to ensure pay equity. At EngenderHealth we have developed a robust gender, equity, diversity, and inclusion (GEDI) policy that guides our work. We promote gender equality as a universal human right and ensure women leaders and underrepresented groups are recognized, supported, and promoted at EngenderHealth. We are committed to building an inclusive, safe, and secure workplace. To ensure our hiring practices are consistent with our principles, we post salary ranges with job postings; we do not ask candidates about their recent salary history; we keep years of experience and earned degrees to the minimum required for each role; and we ensure that through active recruitment we have a diverse shortlist for each position. To demonstrate our commitment to equal pay and to learn how we can improve, we participate in the Global Health 50/50 assessment and the Fair Share of Women Leaders monitor. And we analyze our organization’s contributions to the pay gap.
Pay Gap Reports
EngenderHealth CEO Traci L. Baird explains, “Annual review of our data helps us continue to improve policies, procedures, and practices in ways that make EngenderHealth a more inclusive organization where our staff are treated fairly and feel able to bring their full selves to work.” To learn more about how organizations can use pay gap analysis to inform diversity, equity, and inclusion, you can read this post by Traci at Forbes.
The gender pay gap represents the difference between the average pay of women and the average pay of men in an organization, irrespective of position. It is expressed as a percentage of the average pay for men. The pay gap is often an indicator of gender balance, or lack thereof, in the different staffing levels of an organization. The gender pay gap is not the same as pay equity. Pay equity refers to equal pay for equal work—men and women receiving the same pay for the same job, or for roles of the same value. EngenderHealth is committed to pay equity, and our systems for recruitment, hiring, and promotions are designed to ensure that we pay equally and fairly for equal jobs, irrespective of gender, race, religion, or other individual characteristics.
Two of our values at EngenderHealth are reflection and inclusion. Conducting a pay gap analysis gives us an opportunity to reflect on our operations and identify areas for growth, in line with our values. In 2019, EngenderHealth conducted our first pay gap analysis and published our first pay gap report. Reflecting on this report allowed us to better work to become more inclusive—committed to equality, justice, and leaving no one behind. Since we published that first pay gap report, we have instituted a new compensation policy and are updating salary grade structures for our offices, which includes a detailed equity review. Starting in 2020, EngenderHealth also began reporting on the race and ethnicity pay gap for US staff.
“We are committed to continuing to challenge ourselves to strive for gender equality, to ask the tough questions, to measure and share our progress, and to hold honest discussions on the very issues that animate our commitment to our mission and vision,” writes Traci.
Our most recent pay gap report found that of 367 staff at the time the data were captured, 39% were women* and 61% were men*. The report includes data on EngenderHealth offices with 10 or more staff, noting that the small numbers of staff in some of these offices means that any one staff change in a position (whether from male to female or female to male) has a large influence on the results. For 2020, three offices have a positive (males earn more) pay gap; two have a negative (females earn more) pay gap. Further, we conducted a race and ethnicity pay gap analysis for our US office and global staff using the same format as the pay gap analysis: showing the difference between the hourly salaries for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) staff and the hourly salaries for white staff, expressed as a percentage of the salaries of white staff. Mean pay for BIPOC and white staff is virtually the same (a difference of less than 1% in favor of white staff) and the median pay gap is -9%, in favor of BIPOC staff.
Reflection for an Equitable Future
While we are delighted by the findings of our pay gap analysis, as Traci points out, “we have such a small staff that any one or two changes in staffing could flip this gap in the other direction.” We know that consistent reflection is crucial to doing our part to close the pay gap and work toward pay equity. As the report states, “While imperfect, gender pay gap analysis—and now a race/ethnicity analysis—helps hold a mirror up to our progress in being an equitable, inclusive, and effective organization. We reflect on and learn from our results, and we learn from and appreciate diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives across the nonprofit and global health sectors. A sincere commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is definitely a journey, and not simply a destination.”
EngenderHealth stands for equal pay for work of equal value for all. We don’t just support the message, we work toward it through both our external and internal operations.