National Partnership for Women & Families

What Does the Wage Gap Cost America's Women Each Year? 2,751 Gallons of Gas, 13 Months of Rent, or Food for 1.8 Years

On Equal Pay Day, New Data Show the Cost of the Wage Gap for Women and Families in Each State
Washington, D.C. — April 17, 2012 —
New data released today reveal the significant costs of the country’s gender-based wage gap. The median yearly pay for women in the United States is $10,784 less than their male counterparts. African American women and Latinas fare worse, being paid $19,575 and $23,873 less than men, respectively. If the gap were eliminated, women in the state of Washington could buy an additional 1.7 years’ worth of food. Colorado’s working women could afford 2,746 more gallons of gas. Women in Wisconsin could afford 14 more months of rent, and Connecticut women could pay for 3.7 years’ worth of family health insurance premiums.

The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The report spans all 50 states and the District of Columbia and includes rankings of all the states by wage gap for all women, as well as for women of color. Find out how a specific state ranked at www.nationalpartnership.org/epd. infographic.equalpayday.US.jpg

"This new analysis illustrates just how much harm the wage gap does to women and families throughout the country, and especially to women of color where the gap between the wages paid to women and men is staggering," said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. "With state economies struggling and women increasingly serving as the sole or co-breadwinners for their families, tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages each year takes a tremendous toll."

Nearly 15 million households nationwide are headed by women, and 29.4 percent of them live below the poverty level. Yet full-time working women are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to full-time working men. According to the new data, that gap results in a critical loss of income that could go toward basic necessities. Since the Equal Pay Act passed in 1963, the wage gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year. At that rate, women’s wages are not expected to catch up to men’s for more than 40 years.

"The Equal Pay Act was enacted 49 years ago and women are still paid 23 cents less than men on the dollar,” Ness added. “Today, the wage gap causes enormous harm to women and families. It spans industries and persists regardless of education level. America’s women and families urgently need lawmakers to do much more to promote fair wages. Congress must not wait any longer. Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act must be a priority now."

The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and establish stronger workplace protections for women, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the last two Congresses, but it fell two votes short of moving forward in the Senate in 2010. It has been reintroduced in the current Congress.

The National Partnership’s research on the wage gap was released for Equal Pay Day which marks how far into the new year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid the year before. The data spans all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each of the reports, along with charts ranking the states by wage gap for all women and women of color, are available at www.nationalpartnership.org/epd.

For a high-resolution version of the wage gap image above, please contact Sadie Kliner at skliner@nationalpartnership.org or 202.986.2600.

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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