Melanie J. Vartabedian, a litigation partner in Ballard Spahr's Salt Lake City office, was instrumental in the creation of a new guide for business leaders on how to remedy Utah's gender wage disparity.

Best Practices Guide for Closing the Gender Wage Gap was released by the Salt Lake Chamber and Women's Leadership Institute November 30. Ms. Vartabedian participated in a research focus group and provided input informed by her work with the Salt Lake business community and with Ballard Women, Ballard Spahr's affinity group for female lawyers and clients. Ms. Vartabedian is a co-leader of Ballard Women and a member of the firm's Diversity Council.

"Utah's wage gap is the most pronounced in the country, with women earning an average of 70 cents for each dollar their male counterparts make," Ms. Vartabedian said. "It's a pressing matter, and I was pleased to be in a position to help business leaders who want to address the issue."

The guide contains policies, programs, and actions businesses can implement to help close the gender wage gap. At a news conference for the guide's unveiling, business leaders said many of the factors contributing to the wage gap were the result of unconscious bias.

Ballard Spahr is nationally recognized for its work to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Its Salt Lake City office received the 2018 Business Diversity Award from Utah Diversity Connections, and the firm was awarded Gold Standard Certification by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum for the eighth straight year. In addition, Law360 named Ballard Spahr one of the best firms in the country for women. The Ballard Women group facilitates internal and external networking and professional development activities to support the success and advancement of female lawyers and clients.

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