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40 local employers promise to close their gender and racial pay gaps

A table with several people seated and signing the equal pay pledge
Hamilton County Government
Representatives of more than 40 local employers signed the pay equity pledge.

More than 40 local companies and nonprofits are committing to close the gender- and race-based pay gap for their employees. The Hamilton County Commission on Women and Girls issued a challenge to employers about a year ago, pointing out wage disparities are worse for women of color.

Sixteen-year-old Audrey Chalfie is a member of the commission. She says it's inspiring to see so many companies sign the pledge.

"I thought this was an issue that I could really make a difference [on] in our community," Chalfie said. "And make a difference that could really be measurable — to see if women are getting paid more equally after we make all these changes."

The voluntary commitment includes a promise that each employer will analyze their own hiring, promotional, and pay practices, and publicly announce their commitment to closing the gaps.

County Commissioner Denise Driehaus helped establish the Commission on Women and Girls a few years ago.

"The hard part was making sure that it was substantive," Driehaus said. "That it had not only the commitment, which is fairly general, but also some actionable steps that employers can think about as they say to themselves, 'we want to make sure we have pay equity.' "

Driehaus says the county did an exercise a couple years ago to determine the wage gap for employees. "We are 98 cents on the dollar for women to men, so we've got two cents to go, but the county is actually pretty good in this space."

Lucrecer Braxton, an advisory chair for Together Digital, signed the pledge for the company. She's also part of the Commission on Women and Girls. She says it's great to see so much excitement on the issue but the hardest work is ahead.

"What are we going to do first?" Braxton said. "Are we going to address that we don't have women in positions of authority, who have a say in pay equity? I think if we can start there, we can really make a change. And yes, it may be slow, but at least this is a start."

Braxton says it may be difficult for larger companies to admit the problem exists.

"It's one thing to sit here and sign the pay commitment, it's another thing to say we are actively going to make some changes," she said.

The list of signers includes the Cincinnati Zoo, FC Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Reds, and the governments of Hamilton County and City of Cincinnati (see the full list below). County leaders are working to include more companies, including some of the area's largest employers like Kroger, P&G, the University of Cincinnati, and area hospitals.

"This is the tip of the iceberg, I think, and we will continue to ask companies to come on board," Driehaus said.

Ohio ranks in the bottom half of states for gender-based pay equity, according to the National Women's Law Center. In Ohio, white women earn 79 cents on the dollar compared to white men; Black women earn just 63 cents; and the largest gap is for Latina women at 60 cents.

See the pledge below, followed by a list of employers participating so far:

Participating local employers (as of April 20):

  • 4C for Children
  • African American Chamber of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky
  • Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber
  • Cincinnati Zoo
  • City of Cincinnati
  • District 78
  • Dress for Success
  • Driehaus Insurance Group
  • FC Cincinnati
  • First Step Home
  • Foxtails
  • Girls Health Period
  • Great Parks of Hamilton County
  • Greater Cincinnati Foundation
  • Hair Kitchen
  • Hamilton County, Ohio
  • Health Care Access Now
  • Center for Closing the Health Gap
  • La Soupe
  • Literacy Network
  • Lydia's House
  • MadTree Brewing
  • Michelman
  • Al. Neyer
  • Neyer Management
  • Price Hill Will
  • ProAmPAC
  • Talbert House
  • The Crossroads Center
  • The Port
  • Together Digital
  • Turner
  • UMADAOP of Cincinnati
  • United Way of Greater Cincinnati
  • Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio
  • YWCA of Greater Cincinnati
  • Wyoming Meat Market
Updated: April 21, 2022 at 12:07 PM EDT
This post has been updated
Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.