Why We Support 100 Percent Talent: Working to Close the Gender Pay Gap

The Seattle area is a world leader in opportunity and innovation, thanks mainly to a workforce that is increasingly diverse, skilled and creative. Yet, as the Women’s Funding Alliance points out on its website, what people earn for comparable work too often depends on their gender. Today, women in King County earn 78.6 cents for every $1 earned by men (the gap averages 79% nationally). Eliminating that gender wage gap is what the 100 Percent Talent initiative is all about.

This regional intiative, started by the Women’s Funding Alliance, focuses on employers, asking them to become members and to commit to closing the wage gap. Specifically, employers —  including Laird Norton Wealth Management and Laird Norton Co. (our parent company) —  agree to:

  • Implement at least three best practices, and report on progress via semi-annual surveys.
  • Send at least one employee to 100% Talent’s quarterly workshops focused on best practices.
  • Make a three-year financial sponsorship to fund the effort to close the local wage gap.
  • Share experiences at workshops and community events to help others striving to advance gender equity in the workplace.

This past week, at the April 29th workshop, there were sessions on the Caretaker Penalty and the Future of Work, as well as discussions about how companies can recognize and measure the pay gap within their own organization. Especially interesting was a talk by Geekwire co-founder Jonathan Sposato, a successful Seattle entrepreneur and author of Working Together, who reiterated his pledge not to invest in startups who did not have a woman as one of the founders.

Laird Norton Wealth Management has benefited tremendously from having women hold leadership positions in an industry that has historically been dominated by men. Currently, there four women on LNWM’s 7-person executive team, as well as two women on our Board. We understand the big advantages — both economic and social — that can come from giving women the same opportunities as men. And we are happy to see many other Seattle-area companies also becoming members of 100 Percent Talent, including Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks. It’s all part of what can keep our region a magnet for talent in an increasingly competitive global economy.