Pay attention

LIHUE — Hawaii has the smallest wage disparity between men and women in the nation, according to a recent study.

Wallet Hub, a resource website, calculated 15 key factors to determine which states had the best workplace environments, education ranks and political empowerment for women.

YWCA of Kauai Executive Director Renae Hamilton-Cambeilh said she’s always known that Hawaii was a good place for women to work.

“Hawaii is better for women. It has a smaller pay gap between men and women but there is still a pay gap,” Hamilton- Cambeilh said. “We can just look at who our elected officials are.”

The study took into account how many men and women were in executive director positions, the average hours worked, the educational attainment disparity and the percentage of lawmakers elected in the state.

It took the total by each category, calculated them by points, added them and ranked them by state. Hawaii ranked first, followed by Alaska. Utah came in last.

“(Hawaii) is not doing too bad, but if we look into our local politics, that might change,” Hamilton- Cambeilh said.

Hamilton-Cambeillh believes the only way to get more people united around the equal rights movement is to get them talking about it.

To mark Women’s Equality Day, the YWCA is hosting a free screening of “Equal Means Equal,” a documentary and panel discussion at the Waimea Theater, which begins tonight.

The film directed by documentary filmmaker Kamala Lopez highlights the inadequacies of certain laws meant to protect and safeguard women.

Hollywood celebrities such as Patricia Arquette and Jennifer Lawrence, who are advocates for equal rights, have attended special screenings of Equal Means Equal.

After the movie, Hamilton- Cambeilh will host a panel discussion with Rep. Dee Morikawa, First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Winn, Linda Estes and YWCA Snow Carapetyan.

Some of the questions she will ask will relate to the panelists jobs and how the Equal Rights Amendment could potentially affect it, Hamilton- Cambeilh said.

“I am looking forward to viewing the film Equal Means Equal,” Winn said. “I understand that it is very well made and creates a lot of emotion in those who watch it. As for the panel discussion, I hope that I can add something meaningful.”

Morikawa said she is pleased that Hawaii has the smallest pay gap between men and women.

“It’s good to know that Hawaii is really doing something good when it comes to equal pay for men and women,” she said in regards to the study. “We did have legislation that passed that addressed equal pay and equal work, but we have to polish that legislation.”

Advocates for the ERA propose that they have unfinished business when it comes to adding their voices to the Constitution. The ERA was originally introduced to Congress in 1923 and guarantees equal rights for all women.

The Garden Island reviewed some of the top paid budgeted positions for the county, which are currently filled by women.

They include deputy director of finance, director of housing, director of human resources, deputy county attorney and first deputy prosecuting attorney.

The salary caps are $114,582, $103,041, $114,582, $109,560 and $114,582, respectively.

Although the county would not confirm the actual salaries of the county employees by end of Thursday, County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask said the salaries of the positions were the budgeted salaries of the employees and not their actual salaries.

Trask also said information regarding a person’s income, including women’s incomes, is considered a matter in which people have a significant privacy interest.

“Indeed some of our highest-paid workers are civil servants and we are legally prohibited from giving you their specific salaries and instead can only give you a range,” Trask said.

Meanwhile, some of the top paid budgeted positions in the county, which are filled by men, include the mayor, managing director, police and fire chief and an assistant police chief.

Their salary caps are $132,000, $122,539, $127,313, $127,313 and $148,701, respectively.

Hamilton- Cambeilh said it’s interesting to see the differences between the top paid men and the women in the county.

“When I think of some of those women, I think about how long they have been there,” she said. “If they have worked for a long time or not.”

The documentary Equal Means Equal begins tonight at 6:30 at the Historic Waimea Theatre. Doors open at 6. Concessions are available.


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