About wage equity now
In 2019-2020, under the leadership of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum’s (MWF) then President Jackie Jenkins-Scott, prominent women leaders in government, business and nonprofits came together to use their power and influence to take on a project that would have a large impact on an issue still facing many women in the workforce: the gender and racial wage gaps.
Building on the UK example where employers publicly report their gender wage gaps annually, the team of MWF members, called Wage Equity Now (WEN), asked over one hundred employers to voluntarily report their wage gaps. Only three agreed to do so.
In 2021, in a moment when racial and gender equity at work is not only the right thing to do but also, essential to a fully vibrant Massachusetts economy, WEN introduced legislation to make employers’ wage and power gaps transparent—to establish accountability for and measure progress in eliminating these gaps.
In the 2021-2022 legislative session, with strong support from the WEN coalition, two bills impacting racial and gender wage gaps were merged and reported favorably out of committee. However, without business support, S2721 remained in committee when the session ended.
During the summer of 2022, WEN leaders began working with the Associated Industries of MA to draft a bill enabling businesses to assess their racial and gender representation throughout their organizations compared with competitors in their sector using data required to be filed with the EEOC. The bills filed in the 2023-2024 session bring together WEN advocates for racial and gender equity at work with business and nonprofit leaders to impact any practices of inequity. The effect: enhanced competitiveness by employers to attract, retain, and promote desired employees and enhanced access to wage information by employees to confirm fair, equitable conditions at their workplace.
WEN is an initiative of the Massachusetts Women’s Forum made possible with funding from the Boston Foundation and the Eos Foundation. Special recognition is owed to Judy Habib, current President of the MWF and her firm KHJ Brand Activation which developed the name and logo.