Today is Equal Pay Day, and the National Partnership for Women & Families has released the results of a new analysis showing how persistent gender-based wage discrepancies are. Equal Pay Day is designed to show how far into the new year women must work to catch up with men from the year before; the average annual pay for full-time employed women remains $11,084 less than men’s.
In what it calls the first ever wage analysis of U.S. Census data by metropolitan area, NPWF data show the wage gap affects women in all 50 states and the 50 largest metropolitan centers. The largest cents-on-the-dollar differences were seen in the states of Wyoming, Louisiana, Utah and West Virginia and the metropolitan areas of Seattle, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Detroit.
“It is terribly disappointing that not a single state or metropolitan area has eliminated the wage gap that punishes women and their families. This new analysis illustrates how pervasive the gender-based wage gap is, and what it costs families,” says Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “With most women serving as essential breadwinners for their families, the loss of this critical income has devastating consequences. Local, state and federal lawmakers should make ending gender discrimination in pay and promotions a much higher priority.”
Across the board, women with full-time jobs are paid 77 cents on the men’s dollar. Black and Hispanic women have even larger gaps; they are paid 64 cents and 55 cents per dollar given to white men. The NPWF says the wage gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent a year since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963. At that rate, it says, women will not be paid equally for more than 40 years.
“Fifty years ago this year, the Equal Pay Act became law. Yet a punishing wage gap persists for women in every corner of the country,” Ness says. “We must do more to close the wage gap, which is present in every industry, and affects workers with every level of education. Congress and the president can and must do more. We are urging Congress to prioritize passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act and President Obama to take executive action to ensure that federal contractors do not discriminate in pay. It is past time to make gender-based pay discrimination a thing of the past.”
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