AAUW Testifies on the Importance of Salary Transparency

March 23, 2016

This month, AAUW’s Vice President of Government Relations Lisa Maatz got the opportunity to testify before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a hearing on proposed changes to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1). In 2014, President Barack Obama issued a presidential memorandum requiring federal contractors to submit wage data to help increase salary transparency and close the gender pay gap. After receiving comments from the public, including more than 4,000 messages from AAUW Action Network supporters urging swift finalization of the rule, Obama announced a revised proposal. The proposal covers more than 63 million workers and expands existing data collection mechanisms in the EEO-1 form, which certain employers already fill out annually to report race, sex, and ethnicity data about their workers. Maatz spoke in favor of these changes.

Lisa Maatz speaking at a podium

AAUW’s Lisa Maatz joins other Paycheck Fairness Act supporters at the U.S. Capitol in 2015.

In her testimony, Maatz noted that AAUW strongly supports the proposed revision of the EEO-1 form, which would add aggregate pay ranges to the information employers report, and believes the proposed rule is an innovative and responsive improvement over the original April 2014 presidential memorandum. The proposal outlines a more efficient process that is less burdensome for businesses, utilizes existing mechanisms to report data for a greater number of workers, promotes the kind of transparency that is associated with closing the pay gap, and facilitates voluntary compliance with existing laws.

AAUW’s support for the proposed rule is also prompted by the convincing evidence that sex discrimination in the workplace continues to be a major problem. The pay gap is not a myth, it’s math. AAUW’s own research demonstrates how much the pay gap impacts women, families, businesses, and the nation’s economy. Further, it’s important to remember that the pay gap does not affect all women equally. Women of color, older women, and mothers experience an even larger pay gap.

AAUW believes that the EEOC’s proposal takes aim at reducing the gender and racial pay gap in three important ways:

  • Increasing public transparency on compensation, which is known to help shrink the gender pay gap
  • Supporting employer efforts to self-monitor compensation practices and proactively make appropriate changes to ensure compliance with relevant laws
  • Strengthening the EEOC’s existing technical assistance programs and enforcement efforts

Paying people fairly for the work they do shouldn’t be dependent on their gender, race, or ethnicity. Access to appropriate data is necessary to shine a light on pay practices, reveal trends, and support employers in proactively improving systems and closing gaps. AAUW strongly believes that the proposed revisions to the EEO-1 are a fair and reasonable way to gather that data. We have long asserted that this kind of transparency is associated with a smaller pay gap and that implementing this kind of nationwide data collection is an important and proactive step in our collective efforts to ensure fair pay for all.


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