GWCC urges women to fight for wage equality in workplace

THE Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce yesterday took a steadfast position to diligently work for wage equality, noting an alarming disparity on the incomes of men and women despite working similar jobs with similar credentials.

Speaker Judith Won Pat, who attended the group’s inaugural membership meeting at the Marriott Hotel on Tuesday morning, identified equitable wages as among the many challenges faced by women in the workplace. She asked Women’s Chamber members to rally behind government and private sector-initiated efforts aimed at protecting the economic rights of women on Guam.

Won Pat came close to calling for a boycott of business establishments that are biased against their female employees, as she urged the organization to establish a program that would give recognition to companies with strong wage equality practices.

“We should recognize companies that provide equitable pay. We also shouldn’t support companies and businesses that discriminate against women’s rights to equitable wages,” she told a cheering crowd of more than 50 of Guam’s most influential women in business and government.


Although there are no existing records that define the disparity in wages between men and women on Guam, a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Monday disclosed that men employed full-time in science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupations – commonly referred to as STEM jobs – earn significantly more than their women counterparts.

The Census Bureau report found that men with bachelor’s degrees in science or engineering who are employed full-time in STEM occupations earned close to $16,000 more than their women counterparts, grossing about $91,000 compared with women who make $75,100 on average.

Also, the Secretariat of Pacific Community earlier disclosed that there is a gender imbalance in fisheries careers in the region, noting that women hold less than 20 percent of positions in fisheries and science management. It added that most women are confined to administrative and clerical positions, as it advocated for employment equality in the sector.

On Guam, the Department of Labor’s June 2013 Employment Report disclosed that more than 43 percent or 26,490 of the island’s 61,070 workers are women. Over 18,500 of female workers are in the private sector and they, in fact, outnumber male workers in the government.

Guam Women’s Chamber President Lourdes Leon Guerrero said the newly-formed business group, while initially sectoral in membership, is not an exclusive organization for women, “although its purpose is to advance and promote the interests of women in business and at the workplace.”

“Everybody is welcome to be a member [of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce] but we formed the group because we want women to have an equitable presence in the economy of our island,” Leon Guerrero said, adding there has been significant growth in the presence of women in Guam’s business community. “But we still have a long way to go to be where we should be.”

Meanwhile, Won Pat also disclosed plans to introduce legislation that will level the playing field on the percentage of government contracts awarded to women-owned businesses or companies. She asked the Women’s Chamber to pledge its support to such an initiative, noting that people, in the past, have sought the Legislature’s help to pass measures but failed to rally behind the bill to the end.


WEDNESDAY, 18 SEP 2013 03:00AM BY ALDWIN FAJARDO | VARIETY NEWS STAFF | Click here for originial post.








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