National Partnership for Women & Families

New Census Data Show the Gender Wage Gap is ‘Persistent, Pernicious and Especially Punishing’ to Key Groups of America’s Women

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. — September 13, 2016 —

“New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today reveal that the gender-based wage gap in the United States has not changed in a statistically significant way since these data were last released one year ago. Women who hold full-time, year-round jobs are now typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to men who hold full-time, year-round jobs. That amounts to $10,470 in lost income every year that could go toward basic necessities. In fact, according to a new analysis of the data conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families, a woman could pay for 1.5 more years’ worth of food if that gap were closed.

The gender wage gap in this country is persistent, pernicious and especially punishing to women of color and young women, who represent key groups of voters in this country. According to our new analysis, African American women who hold full-time, year-round jobs are typically paid only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in full-time, year-round jobs. Latinas are typically paid just 54 cents and Asian women 85 cents for every dollar paid to white men. The gap is much larger for some ethnic subgroups of Asian women. These differences amount to appalling losses of tens of thousands of dollars each year for these women, their families and communities.

We also found that even America’s youngest workers face a gender wage gap. Young women ages 15 through 24 who hold full-time, year-round jobs are typically paid 91 cents for every dollar paid to young men who hold full-time, year-round jobs. Losing income at any stage of life can be harmful, but it can be especially devastating early in a woman’s working life, when it can adversely affect both her short-term economic stability and her long-term financial security by compounding over time.

The gender wage gap has plagued our country for too long and these new data are yet another reminder of its damaging consequences. It’s imperative for the next president to prioritize the economic issues facing women and families, including addressing the causes of the wage gap. And we urgently need Congress to take action to combat discrimination and adopt family friendly workplace policies. The Paycheck Fairness Act would help to break patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women. It is a long overdue, common sense measure. Along with other supportive policies like paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, minimum wage increases and protections for pregnant workers, it will put the nation on a path to fair pay, at long last.”

The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release additional data on Thursday, September 15. The National Partnership will use those data to calculate what the gender wage gap is costing America’s women and families in terms of rent and mortgage and utilities payments. Those findings will be available here.

Contact

Sadie Kliner (202) 986-2600 skliner@nationalpartnership.org

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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