Source: Society for Human Resource Management
A new report, released April 12, shows that the wage gap between men and women in the U.S. varies widely across the country—from a low of 10 percent in Washington, D.C., to a high of 35 percent in Louisiana, where women are paid 65 cents for every $1 a man makes. Women of color face even larger pay gaps.
The report Gender Pay Inequality—Consequences for Women, Families and the Economy was released by the Democratic staff of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) to coincide with Equal Pay Day, launched in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity to raise public awareness of the gap between men’s and women’s wages.
“This report presents some really dramatic and startling data about how big a problem pay inequity is in our country for women and their families, and how the pay gap varies state by state, by race, and by age,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The average woman working full time, year-round, earns $10,800 less per year than a man, Maloney pointed out. This can add up to nearly a half million dollars over her career.
“Women shouldn’t be treated differently depending on which state they live in,” she said. Women working in New York, for example, fared best, earning on average nearly 87 cents for every $1 a man earns, while women in Louisiana earn 65 cents for every $1 a man earns, according to the findings.
The problem is not just confined to gender: Black women, on average, are paid 60 cents for every dollar a man earns, while Latinas are paid 55 cents for every dollar. The gap also increases with age—while women ages 18-24 earn 88 percent of what their male counterparts earn, women over age 35 earn 76 percent.
“The report shows the gender pay gap creates a lifetime of economic losses for women, which leads to a long-term income inequality” that lowers their Social Security income and their retirement savings and “puts women at the poorest segment of older people in our society,” Maloney said.
She is the ranking member of the congressional Joint Economic Committee, the senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, and a member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She reintroduced legislation (H.J.Res.52) in May 2015 that would amend the U.S. Constitution and guarantee equal rights for women. She also commissioned a Government Accountability Office report, released in 2004, that examined wages for all women over the past 20 years.
Oscar-winning actress and pay-equity advocate Patricia Arquette joined Maloney at the press conference to discuss the new findings. She has become a spokeswoman for pay equity since her rallying cry to end the pay gap “once and for all” during her acceptance speech at the Academy Awards in February 2015, when she received the Oscar for best supporting actress in the movie “Boyhood.”
Maloney recalled watching the Academy Awards on TV when she heard Arquette’s impassioned cry to close the pay gap. She said she leaped from her bed, whooping with excitement.
“When she stood up at the Oscars last year and called for pay equality … she truly elevated this to a national discussion and a national debate,” Maloney said.
“Is it just acceptable to be a cheap labor force?” Arquette asked rhetorically during the press conference. “We need to make a radical pivot. The gender pay gap has barely budged in the last 30 years.”
Meanwhile, that disparity affects families, including the one in five children—many raised by single mothers—who go hungry on a daily basis, the actress said, recalling her life as a single mother in her 20s struggling to feed her son.
“This is an American disgrace. Women are losing out on billions of dollars a year, simply because of their gender,” Arquette said, even as they “are off fighting our wars … and taking care of our dying.”
The report was released to coincide with Equal Pay Day, launched in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity to raise public awareness of the gap between men’s and women’s wages.
Media coverage of the gender pay gap has dominated the news in recent months. The U.S. women’s Olympic gold medal-winning soccer team filed a wage discrimination complaint March 29 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the U.S. Soccer Federation, claiming the members of the men’s team are paid more than the members of the women’s team. Glassdoor Global Salary Transparency Survey
On April 12, Glassdoor hosted a roundtable discussion on pay equity in New York City that included former U.S. Secretary of State, former U.S. Senator and former First Lady Hilary Clinton among the five panelists. Leaders discussed the realities and root causes behind the pay gap and possible solutions to reach pay equity, including increasing salary transparency.
“There are already laws at the federal level and in the states that make failure to provide equal pay illegal,” Clinton said in a news release. “The problem is there is not enough transparency and we don’t know exactly what the pay gaps are in many settings.”
In conjunction with the roundtable, Glassdoor released findings from its Global Salary Transparency Survey, which shows nearly half of employees globally said their companies do not share pay data internally. More than two-thirds also would like to have a better understanding about what is fair market compensation for their position and skill set at their company and local job market. And a concerning statistic for employers: More than half of workers surveyed think they must switch companies in order to make a meaningful change in their compensation.
The findings are from an online survey conducted within Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the U.S. There were more than 8,200 respondents.
Another report from Glassdoor, released in March 2016—Demystifying the Gender Pay Gap: Evidence from Glassdoor Salary Data—showed occupation-and-industry sorting of men and women into jobs that pay differently throughout the economy is the biggest cause of the gender pay gap.
As with the JEC report, Glassdoor’s March report found that the pay gap widens with age. Workers in the U.S. ages 18-24 have a smaller adjusted gender pay gap (2.2 percent) than workers ages 55-64 (10.5 percent). Even after accounting for education, work experience, location, industry, job title and the company, the March report found what Glassdoor called “a significant pay gap” of 5.4 percent between men and women in the U.S.
Those findings are based on more than 505,000 salaries shared anonymously by full-time U.S. employees on Glassdoor.com’s website. Glassdoor reported finding a similar wage gap pattern in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and France.
Glassdoor suggested in its March report that “policies that alleviate social pressures that divert men and women into different college majors and career tracks” and employer policies of salary transparency can help eliminate pay gaps. It also recommended that employers look at how they determine and communicate pay to current and prospective employees.