Without the gender-based wage gap, Alaska’s women and their families could make mortgage and utility payments for eight months. California women could pay seven months of rent. Maine’s women could buy food for 1.25 years. Women in North Carolina could buy another 3,000 gallons of gasoline.
That’s because full-time employed women in every state are paid significantly less than men. Those are findings from a new report issued this week by the National Partnership for Women & Families, in conjunction with AAUW. It tallies the cost of the wage gap to each state’s women and families, and the human cost of wage discrimination. The report is being issued in conjunction with Equal Pay Day, which is April 20 this year. It is designed to shine a spotlight on the fact that women must work for nearly four extra months in 2010 for wages equal to what men were paid in 2009 alone.
“This report demonstrates that the work to outlaw wage discrimination against women in this country is not done,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “Today in the United States, women are paid just 77 cents to a man’s dollar, and the wage gap is even worse for women of color. It takes a tremendous toll on women in every state.”
Nationally, women are paid $35,745 per year, compared to $46,367 for men, for a wage gap of $10,622 per year. For women and their families, that would buy: 88 weeks of food (1.7 years); seven months of mortgage and utilities; 13 months of rent; and 38 months of the employee portion of health insurance for three years.
“We need the Paycheck Fairness Act now more than ever,” Ness continued. “Especially during this recession, when women’s wages are so important to families, we need this law to strengthen protections against pay discrimination and help ensure that a comprehensive mix of strategies is used to combat and undo discriminatory pay practices. More than a year after the House passed this bill, it’s time for the Senate to do the same.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act would make it harder for employers to justify wage discrimination; prohibit retaliation against workers who ask about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages; authorize the government to collect wage data so civil rights enforcement agencies can target their resources; and offer employers technical assistance to help them analyze their pay data and make sure they are not discriminating.
More information on the wage gap, including fact sheets for 50 states plus the District of Columbia, is available at www.nationalpartnership.org/epd and www.aauw.org/learn/research/statedata/.