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  • The Blade

    'It’s taking way too long': Maumee council passes resolution on equal pay for women

    By By Debbie Rogers / The Blade,


    It’s been 61 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, but women are still not being paid the same as men for doing the same job.

    Maumee Councilman Margo Puffenberger says that’s a problem, and she recently introduced a resolution supporting and promoting equal pay for women.

    “It’s been a very slow gradual process that seems like it’s taking way too long,” she said. “I’m a strong believer leaders should speak out if something’s not right ... and use their platform to rectify things.”

    The resolution passed 6-1 at Maumee City Council’s Feb 5 meeting.

    City Administrator Patrick Burtch said the resolution is a way for city leaders to demonstrate their support for eliminating pay discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, or gender.

    “I think people go through their lives every day and assume the problem doesn’t exist,” he said. “It’s a false narrative, and we have to constantly be reminded of our shortcomings.”

    For example, an employer might believe if a woman’s husband has a good-paying job, she does not need to be offered an equitable salary, Mr. Burtch said.

    “Those kinds of things are still happening and they’re real,” he said, adding that there’s a difference between equity and equality.

    Councilman Philip Leinbach was the lone vote against the resolution.

    “Maumee has a precedence of not endorsing resolutions of this nature where it’s not going to do anything. It’s a special-interest topic of sorts,” he said.

    Mr. Leinbach said the resolution addresses an issue that’s already “the law of the land,” and he wholly supports that law.

    “Yes, it is a law, but it doesn’t mean everyone abides by the law,” said Ms. Puffenberger, who has been on council for three years. “Women just don’t get the pay that a man does.”

    In 2008, women in the United States earned on average 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, the resolution stated. As of last year, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that women who work full time, year-round are paid an average of 83.7 percent as much as men.

    It is estimated that it will take 43 years, until 2058, for men and women to reach parity in pay if the pace of change in the annual earnings ratio continues at the same rate it has since 1960.

    In Ohio, it is estimated that women who are employed as full-time and year-round workers earn 77 percent of the wages that men in the state earn. Almost 18 percent of women in Ohio fall below the poverty line, including 36 percent of family households that are headed by women.

    Ms. Puffenberger said the Maumee resolution comes just before Equal Pay Day on March 12, which is used to raise awareness around pay inequalities.

    Equal Pay Day is recognized on a Tuesday to illustrate how far beyond the previous work week women must work to have earned the same amount of pay as men during that time.

    Mr. Burtch said he added a section in the resolution that specifically lays out how the city will support it.

    Maumee supports promotion and pay transparency; encourages salary negotiations; continues to re-evaluate hiring, promotion, and benefit packages; reviews and encourages parental leave; and promotes and implements diversity, unconscious bias, and racial and gender equity training as well as personal awareness. It encourages all employers to support and implement all of those practices.

    Ms. Puffenberger said she decided to research the issue after hearing about it during the 2022 International Women’s Day event at the Toledo Museum of Art.

    She said she hopes the resolution starts transparent discussions among women and men about what they’re paid.

    “People should be able to talk about it and not be in fear of getting in trouble,” she said.

    Ms. Puffenberger said she grew up in a small, rural town, where you didn’t talk about religion, politics, or money. She recalled interviewing for a job and revealing she was pregnant. The interview went very well, but she was not offered the job.

    “Do I feel like it had something to do with that? Probably. Would I ever find out for sure? Not likely,” Ms. Puffenberger said.

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