Gender in the City

Herb Dempsey

When this reporter grew up in the late 40’s and early 50’s he was constantly reminded by the poster on the wall that employment wasn't fair. The sign, taken from New York City, announced,  "Man Wanted, Irish need not Apply." In Baltimore the same phenomenon was found in the jobs of the "Arabbers" as black street hawkers were left unchallenged in a work system designed so they would not take a job from a white man who needed it. In Tacoma, even when women are employed by the city, the jobs tend to offer lower pay.  Members of some groups are, according to the Tacoma employment practices, simply worth less.

From cotton picking in the US south to stooped labor in the vegetable fields in Washington some workers are still underpaid and overworked.  Employment just isn’t fair.  Tacoma’s elected representatives know that employment just isn’t fair.  In 2004 the city even enacted a model designed to level the fields of Tacoma City employment.  The model target for employment is simple and set by the U.S. census every ten years.  Those employed by the City of Tacoma should have the same profile as the one set by the national census.  In this instance, slightly over half of the residents of Tacoma are female.  The policy that passed in 2004 even went far enough that benchmarks were set for further measurement of success.  Regulations specifically designed to move the counter toward equal employment passed, were adopted and signed.  Tacoma, when adopting the regulations of 2004  appears pressured by an earlier report before the United States Commission on Civil Rights, "Equal Employment Opportunity in Tacoma Area Local Government," from July of 1980.

The City of Tacoma knows of this discrimination as reports and public records, in 2004, 2008  and 2010, document the historical failure to equally employ women in family wage jobs.  In the last "budget waltz" the city over-cut employees in the Police Department and, when the opportunity then became available to employ women to fill the mandatory replacements, hired four male officers.

The facts of the city’s failure to treat the largest group of the under-employed, women, to fair treatment is easily visible in the numbers from the end of 2013.  We start this exploration with the discrimination against women. That is NOT the full extent of the discrimination and some patterns are even more callous.  Perhaps we will study those in a subsequent article.  Suggestion:  If you wish to follow the facts in this argument we suggest you download the documents. They are likely to disappear from the internet as the situation develops.

 

Personnel Area - City of Tacoma

Female

Male

Total

Percent Female

Percent Male

 

Power

191

627

818

23.35%

76.65%

 

Environmental Services

108

378

486

22.22%

77.78%

 

Fire

51

323

374

13.64%

86.36%

 

Police

77

295

372

20.70%

79.30%

 

Water

47

192

239

19.67%

80.33%

 

Public Works

43

157

200

21.50%

78.50%

 

Customer Service

96

38

134

71.64%

28.36%

 

Information Technology

49

60

109

44.95%

55.05%

 

Rail

8

99

107

7.48%

92.52%

 

Finance

54

24

78

69.23%

30.77%

 

Neighborhood-Community Svcs

37

15

52

71.15%

28.85%

 

City Attorney's Office

30

18

48

62.50%

37.50%

 

Planning-Development Svcs

20

28

48

41.67%

58.33%

 

Public Assembly Facilities/PAF

18

22

40

45.00%

55.00%

 

Human Resources

29

10

39

74.36%

25.64%

 

City Manager

22

15

37

59.46%

40.54%

 

Municipal Court

28

4

32

87.50%

12.50%

 

Community Economic Development

19

7

26

73.08%

26.92%

 

Community-Media Services

13

8

21

61.90%

38.10%

 

Retirement

9

1

10

90.00%

10.00%

 

Management Services

5

3

8

62.50%

37.50%

 

Hearings Examiner

3

 

3

100.00%

0.00%

 

TPU Director

1

1

2

50.00%

50.00%

 

City of Tacoma TOTAL

958

2325

3283

29.18%

70.82%

 

Percent of Workforce 2013

29.2%

70.8%

 

 

 

 

Percent of Target Population 2010 U.S. Census

50.60%

49.40%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percent of Workforce 1975

15%

85%

 

 

 

 

Percent of Workforce 1978

16%

84%

 

 

 

 

Percent of Workforce 2004

27%

73%

 

 

 

 

Percent of Workforce 2006

28%

72%

 

 

 

 

Percent of Workforce 2008

28%

72%

 

 

 


Simple things to watch for:

  • Tacoma believes the fair target for the hiring profile should be the census which found the city has 50.60% female citizens.
  • Full citizenship and full employment in family-wage jobs would have 50.60% female employees.
  • Huge efforts must be made to move from the current rate of discrimination against women where the female employment rate stands at 29.2% as a result of the current efforts rather than the 50.6% target adopted for Equal Employment Opportunities.

ADDITIONAL INFO:

Women's Economic Security Forum 2014

Equal Employment Opportunity in Tacoma Area Local Government 1980

Equal Employment Opportunity City of Tacoma Current Policy

Equal Employment Opportunity and Recruitment Plan City of Tacoma 2004

Investigating Race and Gender Bias in Our Schools 

Dempsey on Women in Sports

 

Comments powered by Disqus