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News & Press: President's Message

President's Message - Advocacy & Salary Transparency

Friday, March 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kaia Michaelis
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Dear Utah Museums Association members and friends,

This month, I’d like to take the opportunity to talk to you about two different (but related) issues that are important to me as a museum professional, and that are important to the board of the Utah Museums Association.

We recently spent a day at the capitol, advocating for museums. This is an important annual opportunity for us to meet with our legislators, and speak to them about the issues that impact museums. We were thrilled this year when Governor Gary Herbert put $6 million in his budget for arts and museums grants. And we are grateful that the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee (BEDL) has prioritized this funding as 5th on their list at $3.5M. Learn more about this funding request.

We hope this important funding remains in the budget as the legislature does their work. If you haven’t yet, please speak to your legislators about this important source of funding for Utah’s museums, and how they can help ensure it makes it through the process (especially if they serve on Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee). Read these talking points from the division outlining the why, how, and what on this important request. We also wanted to share some messaging tips to help you speak with your legislator.

Of course, your efforts to advocate for your museum should be year-round, and shouldn’t just be to your state legislators. We think of Museum Advocacy Day as the culmination of your efforts. If you haven’t started on your advocacy efforts for this year yet, make a plan, include your board, and get going!

Please mark your calendars for next year – Museum Advocacy Day will be March 10, 2020. Also another plea to help us in our continual quest to improve Museum Advocacy Day by giving us your feedback (whether you attend or not).


2019 Museum Advocacy Day Feedback  |  Did Not Attend Museum Advocacy Day Feedback 

Salary transparency is another important issue. We encourage Utah museums to share a salary range for all new hires1 . There are a few reasons for this.

  • First, increasing salary transparency removes ambiguity, and helps diminish the gender wage gap. Studies show that when there is high ambiguity, “men made $10,000 more than women on average.”2 Further, “increasing transparency is low-hanging fruit. It is an easy and practical de-biasing design. Failure to do it is ethically dubious.”3 Salary transparency likewise benefits efforts to increase the diversity of museum staff.
  • Second, posting salary ranges saves everyone time – candidates don’t apply for jobs that don’t meet their salary requirements, and museums don’t spend time evaluating candidates who would never accept the salary.
  •  Third, well, there are lots of reasons, which many people have explained, including Vu LeeI have heard some pushback from museum administrators. One particular complaint is that job candidates of a particular much-maligned generation always expect the top of the stated range, even when they have minimal relevant experience. I have seen job postings that clarify that hires are generally made on the low end of the range, which perhaps helps set expectations. But I consider this problem less disconcerting than the problems perpetuated by a lack of salary transparency.

Salary transparency is an easy step we can all take to improve equity in the museum field!



1 Our website cannot currently require it.
2 BOHNET, IRIS. 2018. WHAT WORKS: gender equality by design. BELKNAP HARVARD, pg 68.
3 BOHNET, pg 80. Emphasis added.

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