Gender equality advocates declaring Tuesday Equal Pay Day are using the occasion to highlight the persisting wage gap between male and female workers.
A female employee working full time still only makes 78 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to a report released Tuesday. Latina and African American women make even less, at 64 cents per dollar.
The National Partnership for Women and Families, a nonprofit founded in 1971, released the report to mark equal Pay Day.The report found distressing data that shows discrimination in the workplace that exists across occupation, industry, and education level, impacting individuals and the nation’s economy.
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The gap translates to roughly $10,000 a year in lost wages for female workers. Today, the median pay for women working full time is $39,157, while the median pay for men comes to $50, 033.
The report found that without the wage gap, a woman would be able to approximately afford:
- 86 more weeks, or 1.6 years’ worth, of food;
- 7.6 more months of mortgage and utilities payments;
- 12 more months of rent; or
- 4,534 more gallons of gas
The report also focuses on the “motherhood penalty," when mothers experience a higher pay loss than fathers and women without children. Mothers are paid $16,000 less than fathers, bringing the 78 cents per dollar average down to 71 cents for every dollar. For single mothers, the pay drops even lower to 58 cents for every dollar.
Pay also varies widely across the U.S. For example, women make 66 cents for every dollar in Louisiana, where women face the largest disparity. On the other end of the spectrum, women make 91 cents for every dollar a man makes in Washington D.C.
Two years ago, the National Partnership for Women and Families found that women were making 77 cents on every dollar a man made, so there has been little improvement.
The nonprofit believes there are ways the pay gap can be closed. Providing good jobs and higher wages to women, more STEM education, and paid family and medical leave so that women won’t have to leave the workforce due to pregnancy or taking care of their families are a few suggestions the report provides.