Another year, another $10,876 lost. That’s how much a woman working full time, year round was typically underpaid compared to her male counterpart in 2013, according to NWLC analysis of new Census Bureau data.
Our analysis shows that women in full-time, year-round jobs make 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts—about the same as last year’s figure of 77 cents. The wage gap for women of color is even larger—with African American women making 64 cents and Latinas making 56 cents to their white, male, non-Latino counterparts’ dollar.
The stagnant wage gap highlights the need for policymakers to find solutions that combat barriers that women face in the workplace. These solutions include:
- Ending pay discrimination. Equal work deserves equal pay. Yet, many employers not only undervalue women workers in pay, but also threaten retaliation against those that try to combat unequal pay in the workplace. The Equal Pay Act must be strengthened to empower women to fight pay discrimination and to encourage employers to pay workers equally.
- Raising the federal minimum and tipped minimum wages. Two in three minimum wage workers are women, which ties the minimum wage to women’s earnings. States with a higher minimum wage have smaller wage gaps, and raising the national minimum wage would help shrink the wage gap nationally and increase economic security for working families.
- Fighting harassment and other barriers that keep women out of higher-paying, male-dominated industries. Nontraditional fields like construction and STEM jobs pay higher wages. However, harassment, discrimination in hiring, and lack of mentors keep women out of these higher-paying industries. Policymakers should enforce anti-harassment laws and invest in opportunities that encourage more women to pursue careers in higher-paying, nontraditional jobs.
- Curbing unfair scheduling practices and enforcing legal protections for women with caregiving responsibilities. Women make up a significant portion of the low-wage workplace where unfair scheduling practices force mothers and caregivers to choose between meeting their family responsibilities and keeping their jobs. Too often low-wage workers arrive at work only to be told their shift has been cancelled. In a recovering economy where every dollar counts, low-wage workers and their families deserve schedules they can rely on.
- We must also ensure that workers with caregiving responsibilities have access to affordable child care and paid sick and family leave.
The time for lawmakers to act is now. Women and their families cannot afford anything less.