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Gender wage gap widest for minority women according to recently released data

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 9, 2011

Debra L. Ness, president, National Partnership for Women and Families
Debra L. Ness, president, National Partnership for Women and Families

Photos: National Partnership for Women and Families, American Association of University Women

On average, full-time working women in the United States are paid $10,622 less than their male counterparts, according to recent research conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Families, in conjunction with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

In California, for example, where 1,593,474 households are headed by women, there is a wage gap of $8,370 between full-time working men and women. In New York, 1,050,106 households are headed by women and there is a wage gap of $8,590; in Florida 897,308 households are headed by women and the wage gap is $7,013 between full-time working men and women.

The researchers in this case estimate that were the gap to close it would have a dramatic impact on the lives of many families. They point out that in Alaska, but for the gap women could buy 1.7 years’ worth of food; working women in Connecticut could afford 15 more months of rent; their counterparts in Michigan could make 10 more months of mortgage and utility payments; and working California women could buy 2,100 more gallons of gas.

“This new data illustrate the very real harm unequal wages are doing to America’s working families,” said Debra L. Ness, president, National Partnership for Women and Families. “It is long past time to close the gender-based wage gap. With women playing an increasingly important role as family breadwinners, there is no time to waste.”

Although women head nearly 14.5 million households nationwide and the majority of working mothers in the United States are the source of at least a quarter of their families’ earnings, women working full-time are only paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar paid to full-time working men, according to the Partnership. Since the 1963 Equal Pay Act passed the wage gap has narrowed half a cent per year, the research points out; and if it continues the same way, the working women of tomorrow will earn the same as the men by 2058.

Linda Hallman, executive director, the American Association of University Women

Linda Hallman, executive director,  American Association of University Women

“This research proves that the gender pay gap is not simply a numbers issue or a women’s issue,” said Linda Hallman, executive director, the American Association of University Women. “It’s a bread and butter issue. It’s an everyday issue for people who are trying to support their families and provide for their futures. No more lip service, it’s time to act.”

It is harder still for African-American and Latino women. Nationally, in 2009, African-American women working full-time, year-round were paid only 61 cents for every dollar paid to men and Latinas only 52 cents, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

Established in 1971, the National Partnership for Women and Families is dedicated to creating “a society that is free, fair and just. Where nobody has to experience discrimination, all workplaces are family-friendly, and no family is without quality, affordable health care and real economic security.” The mission of the American Association of University Women, a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, is to advance “equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.”

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