An analysis released for Equal Pay Day tomorrow shows just how much the gender-based wage gap is costing America’s women and their families. Women who are employed full time, year round in the United States are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap in wages of $11,607. If the gap were eliminated, women who work in California could buy 59 more weeks of food. Ohio’s working women could afford nine more months of mortgage and utilities payments. Working women in Georgia could afford 10 more months of rent. And women employed in Florida could afford 1,900+ more gallons of gas.
The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families and is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The findings span all 50 states and the District of Columbia and can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap. The National Partnership also analyzed the wage gap for African American women and Latinas in 20 states. Nationally, African American women and Latinas are paid just 64 cents and just 54 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
“Unfair wages cause real and lasting harm to women, the families they support, and to our economy. With women making up nearly half the workforce and serving as essential breadwinners in two-thirds of households, it’s time to finally put ‘Mad Men’-era wage policies in the past,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “As this analysis shows, when women and their families lose thousands of dollars in critical income each year, they have significantly less money to spend on food, gas, rent and other basic necessities, and the consequences for their families and our state and national economies can be devastating.”
The analysis finds that the states with the largest cents-on-the-dollar pay differences are Wyoming, Louisiana, West Virginia, Utah and Alabama. Among the states with the largest numbers of African American women and Latinas working full time, African American women in Louisiana and Latinas in New Jersey suffer from the largest gaps. The analyses include what each state’s wage gap means for women’s spending power, specifically in terms of basic necessities. Loss of income is especially relevant for the more than 15.1 million U.S. households headed by women, 32 percent of which live in poverty.
“The wage gap is simply unacceptable. We must do much more to end discrimination so we no longer deny millions of women the fair pay they need and deserve,” Ness continued. “We know from Census data and the experiences of women across the country that the wage gap exists regardless of industry, education level or perceived personal choices. America’s women and their families urgently need Congress to take action to promote fair wages. It is past time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.”
This week, the U.S. Senate is expected to consider the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, help to break harmful patterns of pay discrimination, and establish stronger workplace protections for women. President Obama has been a vocal supporter of the bill, calling on Congress to pass it in his State of the Union address in January and taking executive actions this week to combat pay discrimination. In a 2014 nationwide survey, 62 percent of likely voters said they supported the Paycheck Fairness Act – 83 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of independents and 44 percent of Republicans.
The National Partnership’s analysis of the wage gap was released the day before Equal Pay Day, which is April 8 this year. The day marks how far into the year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid the year before. The analysis uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau and spans all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The findings for each state, along with state rankings, are available at www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap.
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.