National Partnership for Women & Families

New Census Data Show the Gender-Based Wage Gap Continues to Harm America’s Women and Families

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — September 16, 2015 —

“New data from the U.S. Census Bureau today reveal that America’s women and their families are losing $10,762 in income every year due to a punishing gender-based wage gap that has plagued our country for too long. These new data are a painful reminder that discrimination persists in our workplaces, that the country’s failure to adopt family friendly workplace policies disproportionately harms women, and that Congress has utterly failed to help. For the sake of the nation’s women, families and our economy, this must change.

According to the new data, women with full-time, year-round jobs are paid just 79 cents for every dollar paid to men who hold full-time, year-round jobs. That loss has significant short- and long-term effects on the financial security of women and families across the country, especially when women are breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of U.S. households. Losing thousands of dollars that could go toward necessities like housing, food and gas is no small matter for any family, but it is particularly harmful for those struggling to make ends meet.

For women of color, the wage gap is especially appalling. The new data show that African American women who work full time, year round are paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men who do. Latinas are paid just 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. These gaps amount to devastating losses of tens of thousands of dollars each year. For Asian American women, the gap is smaller but still punishing. On average, Asian American women are paid 84 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

The Obama administration has taken steps to close the wage gap by eliminating barriers to unfair pay and increasing access to supportive policies among the federal contracting workforce, and those are important efforts. But it is past time for Congress to act. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help to break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women, has languished for too long. Lawmakers should finally put partisanship aside and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and the other fair and family friendly workplace proposals the country needs.”

In April, the National Partnership released a report, An Unlevel Playing Field: America’s Gender-Based Wage Gap, Binds of Discrimination, And A Path Forward, that outlines several measures that would help close the wage gap. It is available here.

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.

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