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USM Women In Leadership and guest Joan Fortin "Exploring the Gender Pay Gap"

Joan Fortin at USM event


It was a full room on Thursday, February 7 when the University of Southern Maine Foundation hosted its second annual Galentine’s Women in Leadership breakfast event “Exploring the Gender Pay Gap” at the Glickman Library, University Events Room (7th Floor), on the USM Portland Campus.

The event featured guest speaker Joan Fortin of the law firm Bernstein Shur, one of MaineBiz’s 2018 Women to Watch; the event also included a raffle and all attendees received a Rosie the Riveter mug.

As the Association of American University Women explains, "No matter how you analyze it, the gender pay gap is real, persistent and harmful to women’s economic security." Do women need to take initiative to ensure we're paid fairly, or should employers be stepping up to ensure equitable pay for all? Fortin took the lead for an in-depth conversation with the group about this important topic, sharing her expertise and extensive experience.

Fortin began her talk by presenting data on the gender wage gap.

breakout sessions

  • On average women will earn $400,000 less than their male counterparts

  • Maine is 16th in the nation for gender pay equality

  • It takes white women 15 months to earn what a white man does in 12, it takes a Latina woman 22 months

An overarching theme of the event was that women didn’t create the gender wage gap, so they can’t be alone in fixing it.

Fortin's presentation was followed by breakout sessions where different professional problems were posed and women worked in groups to solve the problems.

event pics
See a full album of pictures from the morning on the USM Alumni Facebook page, and save the date for the next Women in Leadership event on June 6, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m., at USM in Portland.