The Wage Gap

At ESRI’s 2017 User Conference, the Washington Women in GIS and Technology (WWGT) submitted a poster highlighting the wage gap between women and men.

One day before Women’s Equality Day, Women in GIS would like to focus on that poster to:

  1. commemorate women’s accomplishments and,
  2. highlight the work still needed to be done.

We hope to show you we don’t have far to go, but we do need to get there.

WiGIS: Your poster, recently displayed at the 2017 ESRI UC, is titled Washington State Gender Wage Gap in the Work Force. On it, you focus on the state of Washington’s gender wage gap (GWG) and the percentage of women in the work force. But you also included some historic, national data I found fascinating. The graph for the wage gap over time clearly shows we’ve come a long way since 1960. We are definitely closing the gap! We’ve gone from earning 60% of what men earn to 80%. We’re getting there! So, why focus on this issue? Why make this such a big deal?

WWGT: While it is true the gender wage gap (GWG) is narrowing, we have not yet reached pay equity.  In fact, the America Association of University Women (AAUW) estimate that pay equity will not occur until the year 2152.

Women earn less than men in 439 of the 446 major U.S. occupations.

We must do better.  It took over 70 years for women to gain social, political and economic equality with the passing of the 19th amendment and yet we still have work to do.

The GWG affects the women’s age to retire, opportunities for career advancement, opportunities in STEM careers, and ability to pay for school, child care or living expenses.  Educating people about the factors that influence the GWG and inspiring them to get involved are the first steps to making a difference and therefore we created this poster.

WiGIS: On your poster, you suggest several ways to get involved and specifically call out the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act. As I understand it, the Fair Pay Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009, but the Paycheck Fairness Act is still under consideration by congress. Is that the case? How are these two different and what specifically can we do to help?

WWGT:  The Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) was first introduced in 1997 and has been reintroduced many times.  It was approved by the House of Representatives in January 2009, but failed in the Senate.  It was most recently introduced to the Senate in April 2017. The PFA strengthens portions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to make it easier for workers to share wage information, allow workers to sue for punitive damages in cases of wage discrimination, and start training programs around wage negotiation for women.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama, but there is a new Fair Pay Act of 2017 (FPA) which was introduced to the House in April 2017.  The Lilly Ledbetter version changes the statute of limitations for filing a pay discrimination lawsuit to the time of the initial discriminatory wage decision instead of resetting at the most recent paycheck. The 2017FPA amends the FLSA of 1938 to prohibit discrimination in payment of wages because of sex, race, or national origin, and for other purposes.  Most notably, the FPA would require comparable pay for comparable work.  For example, female-dominated professions such as emergency services operators should be paid comparable wages to their male-dominated counterparts, in this case fire dispatchers.

If you agree with these bills, call or write your senators and representatives and encourage them to pass these important acts.

  1. Find your Representative
  2. Contact your Senator

WiGIS: I love the history graphic on the bottom of your poster. It doesn’t have much to do with the GWG, however, so what inspired its inclusion on this poster?

WWGT: The timeline details significant milestones related to Women in STEM careers compared to related U.S. historic events.  Our group felt it was important to include this information as it highlights how long Women have been leaders in STEM career fields and yet are still striving for pay equity.  The timeline shows how long it took women to get the right to vote, civil rights, the opportunity to work in any career and obtain equal pay (we are getting closer).  These women demonstrate the strength and courage required to do what they loved.  Highlighting their accomplishments inspire future generations to reach for their dreams.  It is our job as women in STEM careers to not only educate girls and women on STEM careers and opportunities but also provide support and mentoring. This is the purpose of our Washington Women in GIS and Technology (WWGT) group.

WWGT at ESRI UC 2017. From left to right: Robyn Pepin (Aspect Consulting), Tonya Kauhi (GeoEngineers), Jack Dangermond (Esri), Jaclyn Layton (Metro Parks Tacoma), Jennifer Radcliff (Port of Tacoma) and Melissa Hayashida (Metro Parks Tacoma)

Many thanks to Tonya Kauhi for answering our questions and spearheading this poster.

WiGIS at GenConX

Women in GIS will be attending ESRI’s GenConX in beautiful Chicago, Illinois. Jessica Griffin will be hosting a short session in the Grand Ballroom at the Chicago Hilton from 12:45pm to 1:15pm on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

Please join her and bring a friend!

Short Survey!

Thousands of women around the world are aspiring to be, or are, GIS professionals. Women in GIS (WiGIS), a soon-to-be nonprofit organization, serves as a safe place for women from all geospatial fields to come together. Two of its primary goals include:
  • Working to overcome job discrimination, lower pay, professional isolation, and other common barriers women might face, and
  • Fostering relationships and resource-sharing among members and institutions.
We are researching which membership benefits and services would be most valuable to you…. a potential paying member. Your participation in this survey will help inform WiGIS organizers as to what you would like to get out of membership at this organization should you choose to join.

The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete, and all of your individual responses will be kept confidential. Thank you for your participation. Your feedback is very important to us!

Geospatial Data Act of 2017

The Geospatial Data Act of 2017 (GDA 2017) is a proposed piece of legislation currently being considered by congress. If passed into law, it may negatively impact professionals in the geospatial field by limiting their ability to provide mapping/geospatial services for state or federal agencies.  Links to the actual Act and position papers from the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA), the American Association of Geographers (AAG) and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) are listed below.

Geospatial Data Act of 2017 (S.1253)
House Version (H.R.3522)

GITA Position Paper

AAG Position Paper

URISA Position Paper

 WiGIS intends to collaborate with fellow geospatial organizations and groups such as the Society for Conservation GIS (SCGIS) to compose a letter contesting some of the language in the bill.

If you have any questions, concerns or comments regarding the WiGIS participation in this effort, please email admin@womeningis.org by August 18th, 2017.

We’re Out There

If you’ve never been to an ESRI User Conference, then you might be surprised by the size of it.

I was. (Okay okay, nothing like ComicCon, but still.)

It’s been years (okay, decades) since the last UC I attended, so I wasn’t quite prepared for the size of the San Diego Convention Center – nor the amount of people (an introvert’s nightmare). But I suffered through and came out, in the end, better for it.

Geogeeks Flex Their Muscles banner at the ESRI 2017 UC

I did not attend the UC alone!

WiGIS also attended ESRI’s 2017 UC. That is to say, I, along with Danielle Bram, Christina Boggs, Andrea Regalado, Olivia ,DeSimone Miriam Olivares, and many others among our volunteer ranks, attended one of the biggest congregations of GIS professionals on this side of the planet.

And there were a ton of other women at the conference! They were everywhere; listening to talks, presenting talks, demonstrating software, and just being the awesome mapsters we all are.

Special Interest Lunch Meeting

Attendance at the WiGIS lunch meeting at the ESRI 2017 UC

On Tuesday, over 110 Women in GIS gathered for a WiGIS lunch meeting where our fearless leaders talked about our efforts to form a non-profit. We also solicited ideas from the audience on how best we can serve our community of talented women. Some of the items presented were:

  • Create an online job center
  • Sponsor UC attendance for young women/students
  • Increase outreach to girls
  • Rant board on Facebook (it’s coming!)
  • Develop awards for diversity (for municipalities and/or companies)
  • Create a YouTube channel (what would you want to see?)
  • Translate the website to several languages
  • Find volunteer opportunities on women-specific issues

Our all-volunteer staff are working on implementing or, at the very least, exploring these suggestions. Thanks to all who attended and made it such an awesome meeting!

And special thanks to Andrea for providing the very popular WiGIS buttons handed out during the meeting. If you attended the meeting and missed out on the buttons, email outreach@womeningis.org to get one.

Social Gathering

A group of roughly 40 women gathered on Wednesday night at Indigo Hotel’s rooftop bar. While WiGIS couldn’t afford to buy anyone a drink, we mixed and mingled, hatched grand plans, swapped business cards, and had a good time in the lovely San Diego weather.

Thanks again to Andrea for arranging such a great venue. Let’s do it again soon!

Map Gallery

We also made our presence known in the map gallery. Andrea Regalado, Christina Boggs-Chavira, and myself submitted maps, each focused on our growing organization. Andrea focused on some stats from our Women in GIS Story Map. Christina’s map highlighted ways women can advocate for themselves. And my map was a compilation of last year’s identity survey.

It was also great to see Washington Women in GIS and Technology (WWGT) submit an informative and detailed map/poster on the gender wage gap in the state of Washington. If you don’t want to read the map image below, the information is also presented in Story Map format here.

WWGT’s map shows there’s still a need for women to speak out for equality. The wage gap *does* exist, and though there are more women working in the tech sector every day, we do not occupy the number of positions we should based on other work force statistics.

Super Women

Though we still have yet to reach full parity with men, we’ve come a long way. Together, with our male allies, we’ll find our super power.

Thanks for reading.

We love to hear from you! Did you attend the ESRI’s 2017 UC? If so, tell us about it in the comment section below. What’s your super power?

Join Us!

Join us at the 2017 ESRI User Conference in San Diego.

We’ve organized two events:

  1. Our annual lunch meeting in Room 25C in the San Diego Convention Center on Tuesday, July 11th. Please bring your lunch and join us for a summary of our efforts to form a non-profit and start a new mentorship program.
  2. On Wednesday, the 12th, we’ll be gathering at the Hotel Indigo (Level 9 Rooftop Bar) on 509 9th Ave in San Diego between 6 to 9pm. This is a No-Host event, so please take a moment to check out the menu for pricing. We’d like to have a count of potential attendees, so please take a few seconds to RSVP here.

Thanks and see you soon!

We’re Back!

Please excuse the mess.

Our site was attacked and taken off the internet.

But we’ve managed to re-install the basics and will be up and running again soon.

Thanks for staying with us.