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Pay Equity Audits Helped Reduce OPEN Imperative Members' Gender Pay Gaps 85%

, | Mar 15, 2023 6:30:00 AM | By

Below is a summary of a talk given by Emily Sweet, VP Social Impact at OpenComp, and Traunza Adams, an OPEN Imperative Advisory Board member and four-time Chief People Officer who has led global people teams for 30+ years. They spoke at “OPEN Summit: The Pay Equity Tipping Point” in March 2023, to review the outstanding first year of OPEN Imperative. More of a visual learner? Watch a recording of the presentation.


We founded OPEN Imperative (Organizations for Pay Equity Now) one year ago to address a core belief: We can end gender pay disparity in pre-IPO companies by or before 2027.

While there’s still much ground to cover, our first year has truly been remarkable. For example, OPEN Imperative members that conducted a pay audit reached an average gender pay gap that’s 85% lower than the national average

Read on to learn why we created OPEN Imperative, how the pay gap still affects women, and how you can join OPEN Imperative to access the resources our members use to gain traction in pay equity.


Gender pay equity outcomes > intentions

In just one year, the member-based coalition grew to 370 business and people leaders and investors from a wide array of industries, all of whom have committed to closing the gender pay gap in their organizations. 

We’ve also assembled an exceptional board of advisors who are our partners in this work:

Finally, many members have asked for their free and confidential pay equity reports to surface their gender pay gaps and get recommendations on how to close them.

Companies that have taken advantage of this service now have an average gender pay gap of $.96 to the dollar. That’s 85% lower than the national average of $.83 and it means their equal pay day is January 18, compared to the nationwide date of March 14.

Jess Forster, the VP People at Fluxx LabsFluxx Labs puts it best:

“Getting our pay equity report was incredibly insightful and timely. We’re getting ready to review Q1 raises and are planning to use this information to help inform our decisions.”


OPEN Imperative’s origin story

Just over one year ago, our OpenComp leadership team saw this tweet from Dr. Monica Cox, calling out performative allyship:

Compelled, we asked ourselves how we could leverage our compensation expertise and real-time data and insights in a way that supports other organizations to close their gender pay gap once and for all.

How big is that pay gap?

On average, women make $0.83 for every $1.00 that men make. 

To make that concrete, if a man earns $100,000 and a woman earns $83,000 for the same work, that’s a difference of $17,000 each year. Here’s how a woman might spend that money:

If a woman invests that $17k per year in an index fund that earns 6% interest, her contributions will eventually total $186k. Over a lifetime, with compound interest, that $17k per year turns into $2.8M by retirement age. That’s utterly life-changing.


Getting paid less now also means receiving less in social security when a woman retires, because social security is based on lifetime earnings. The pay gap is tied to the overall wealth gap, which affects current and future generations. 

This is why pay inequity is a problem. This is why OPEN Imperative exists.


How we’ll keep moving forward, together

The challenges are many, but there’s power in the community we’re building. Organizations are openly discussing their shared challenges and best practices, and holding ourselves accountable has been powerful.

If you’re inspired by our mission and our members’ incredible achievements during this first year after our launch, join us. In doing so, you’ll gain immediate access to an incredible peer community, a free and tailored pay equity report, and resources that can help you move toward pay equity. 



Emily Sweet is VP of Social Impact and OPEN Imperative Lead at OpenComp. She writes about topics including pay equity and diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI). A board member of the National Council of Jewish Women, Emily is a veteran philanthropic leader and policy advisor with more than 20 years experience advancing bold solutions to big problems that drive impact and inspire collective action. Connect with Emily on LinkedIn.