Women and the Workplace Summit
Commission on Status of Women and Girls Holds Event
October 17, 2013
After conducting the first comprehensive report on the lives of local women and girls last year, the members of the Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls agreed that their next step would be to put those findings to work.
The Women and the Workplace Summit was the result.
"The Commission on Status of Women and Girls has been doing a phenomenal job the past three years to promote issues that impact women and girls in Leon County," said County Commission Vice Chairman Kristin Dozier. "As one of three women on the County Commission, I've witnessed the great strides that have been made in our community and I think this Summit gives us the opportunity to discuss where we can continue to make improvements - especially in the workplace."
Published last year, the report took 18 months and hundreds of hours of volunteer work. It covered issues of crime and justice, economic security, education, health and mental health, leadership, services and resources.
Key findings, for instance, showed that violence against women remains a pervasive and troubling local problem. In 2011, approximately 36 percent of all murders committed in Leon County involved domestic violence. Approximately 15 percent of all reported rapes and 22 percent of all aggravated assaults were classified as "domestic violence."
These largely unreported crimes constitute a significant proportion of all of the violent crimes reported in Leon County. What's more, they spill over into the workplace, compromising the safety of both victims and co-workers. Domestic and sexual violence also have a huge economic impact: lost productivity, higher health care costs and more absenteeism and employee turnover.
"Every employer in America wants to have a safe and productive work environment," said Tallahassee City Manager Anita Favors Thompson. "Yet when it comes to domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, some employers have considered this a personal matter for the employee that is out of the employer's jurisdiction or involvement."
Favors Thompson said every employer has a clear responsibility to make the workplace safe for all employees.
"The City's enhanced workplace violence policy allows for us to better know and understand when protective measures are required," she said. "And we can better assist the affected employees by assuring them that they should be able to come to work without fear or harassment."
One of the most jarring statistics in the Commission report was that 58 percent of local single women with children under the age of five live in poverty.
"That's in our community. That's not in the developing world someplace," said Robin Hassler Thompson, the Commission chair. "That's right here at home."
The report found that in order to meet the most basic costs of living, a single woman without children in Leon County would have to earn $9.42 an hour, nearly two dollars more than Florida's minimum wage. A woman with two children would need to make $21.63 an hour or $45,674 annually, a salary higher than the $40,079 median income for all families in Leon County.
But the report also showed that professional women earned less than their male counterparts.
"Across the board, women are being paid less than men," Hassler Thompson said. "We want to raise awareness, and we want to give women really practical tools to figure that out."
Hundreds of Leon County residents attended the Summit. One of its main functions was to create an investment strategy for our community so that every workplace promotes greater economic security for women.
For more information, contact Haley Cutler, Executive Director of the Oasis Center for Women & Girls, at (954) 260-5601 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haley Cutler, Executive Director of the Oasis Center for Women & Girls, 954-260-5601