By Stephanie Blumenkranz
On Wednesday, September 26th, JWFNY President Debbie Cosgrove and I spoke with the Reform Pay Equity Initiative, a project funded by JWFNY that addresses the gender wage gap throughout Reform Jewish institutions. Coordinated by Rabbi Marla Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Mary Zamore, Executive Director of Women’s Rabbinic Network, the initiative brings together 17 Reform affiliate associations, and has the potential to impact over 1 million people throughout North America.
We spoke to the leadership of the 17 involved organizations about JWFNY and the many reasons we are strong supporters of their work. In turn, we learned about the many, often difficult, changes they are making in their institutions and throughout the entire Reform movement, involving making salaries more transparent and implementing adjustments for gender equity. Only one year into their work, some of their recent successes include:
- -Engaging over 18,000 participants through meetings, personal consultations, learning sessions at multiple conferences and webinars. Participants include board members, professionals and search committees.
- -The creation of an ethical employment toolkit, featuring interventions for employees and employers.
- -An economist is in the midst of creating an executive summary based on the analysis of existing salary surveys that represent different professional roles including rabbis, educators, cantors, early childhood educators, and temple administrators.
The Reform Pay Equity Initiative is approaching the issue of pay equity in a systemic and integrated manner. To see the leadership of 17 organizations working together on this issue is a reminder that we are able to, and are actively, dismantling the structural systems that have allowed injustice to pursue.
The 17 Reform professional and affiliate organizations that make up the Reform Pay Equity Initiative: American Conference of Cantors, Religious Action Center, Women of Reform Judaism (Coordinator), Association of Reform Zionists of America, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Union for Reform Judaism, Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Association of Reform Jewish Educators, Men of Reform Judaism, National Association for Temple Administrators, Program & Engagement Professionals of Reform Judaism, Advancing Temple Institutional Development, Women’s Rabbinic Network (Coordinator), World Union for Progressive Judaism, Reform Pension Board, and Commission on Social Action.