Women, On Average, Earn 80 Cents to a Man’s Dollar — But Not at Nordstrom

Nordstrom Inc. is living up to its reputation as a pioneer in the department store space.

The Seattle-based retailer announced today that it has reached 100% pay equity for its employees of all genders and races — meaning it provides equal pay for comparable work, a feat that has challenged companies across industries in the decades since the Equal Pay Act of 1963. In the United States, women still earn about 80 cents to a man’s dollar, according to data from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. (The EPA, part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.)

To tally its accomplishment, Nordstrom said it took into account relevant factors such as job level, job family, experience, performance, job scope and location. The company said  it analyzed base pay to assess whether employees with similar roles, experience and performance earn equal pay for comparable work.

“At Nordstrom, we are constantly working to create an environment where employees can build long-term and rewarding careers. As a part of this, we believe in paying employees fairly for the work they do, and we are committed to delivering on equal pay for comparable work,” said Christine Deputy, chief human resources officer at Nordstrom.

The department store said today it is also nearing 100% gender “pay parity” — a measure of gender representation at all levels of the company. By this definition, the company said pay parity is not an indicator of pay equity, but instead of gender representation in all areas and levels of its business.

Nordstrom joins other footwear and fashion retailers, such as Nike and Macy’s, which have recently espoused heightened goals for diversity, inclusion and more equitable work environments. As the #MeToo movement — which started in 2017 and has brought new attention to the treatment of women at work — reshapes the status quo, many companies are retooling their policies with a focus on hiring and promoting more women as well as other minorities. While progress has been uneven, at the very least, a larger number of companies have become more transparent about their efforts. Nike, for example, in May released an annual report, highlighting its own progress after previously admitting it had fallen short in promoting women and people of color. Over the past year, the brand said it increased VP-level representation of women by 4% to 36% globally and VP-level representation of U.S. underrepresented groups by 3% to 19%. The company said it also succeeded in reaching global pay equity ratio for men to women, and white to underrepresented groups in the U.S.

Meanwhile, DSW and Caleres have both reached gender parity on their corporate boards and Macy’s, Chanel and Gucci are among the fashion players to add chief diversity officers to their executive team in recent months. (In addition to boosting a company’s inclusion initiatives, CDO’s are charged with ensuring that an organization follows equal employment opportunity regulations.)

“Paying our people fairly, regardless of gender or race, enables us to deliver on our commitment to an inclusive environment where we can all be ourselves, contribute ideas and do our best work,” Deputy said of Nordstrom’s objectives. “This is an area that we will continue to invest in and be vigilant on because equality and diversity makes us all stronger.”

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