Women bank employes are concentrated in the industry's lowest paying dead-end jobs, sometimes receive less pay for the same job than white men and earn wages so low that some of them must use food stamps, according to a report released yesterday by a national women's group.
"When some full-time bank employs are eligible for food stamps something is wrong," said Ellen Cassedy, director of Working Women, National Association of Office Workers, a group with branches in 45 states. "If the banks' employment profile has improved, part of the reason is category inflation, where women's titles change while their pay and duties remain the same. The plight of most female bank employes has not improved. The facts show that it is worsening."
The American Bankers Association, however, rebuts the group's charges that women are not being promoted in managerial jobs.
"The number of female bank managers almost quadrupled in the last decade in the 50 largest banks," and ABA spokesman said.
The spokesperson said that from 1970 to 1978 the number of women bank officials and managers increased from 14.9 percent to 32.9 percent. "That is significant in showing that banks are making a great effort to move women and minorities into better jobs."
The group also reported a list of 50 banks it wanted the Labor Department to investigate for possible discrimination against its women and minority employes. No Washington area banks were listed, but Cassedy added that it doesn't mean Washington banks don't discriminate. Working Women doesn't have a strong enough force in Washington to pinpoint the banks, she said.
Working Women is supporting a proposed regulation by the Labor Department's office of federal contract compliance programs which would establish its authority over banks in employment discrimination issues. This would be done by establishing a contractrual link between the banks and the government based on federal deposit insurance licensing.
The labor department has been investigating employment discrimination in the banking industry since last October, said Weldon Rougeau, director of the contract compliance office. Sixteen percent of his staff is studying the industry, Rougeau said. "
"The banking industry is a growth industry and a lot of women are concentrated in clerical functions," Rougeau said. Rougeau said he would consider any information that Working Women was able to furnish him on the issue.
According to the Working Women report, 66.8 percent of women bank employes held clerical positions and 23.1 percent were officials and managers.
The report also stated that the average weekly salary of bank clerical workers ranged from $130 to $157 compared to $140 and $173 for similar positions outside of banking institutions.