Posted on October 17, 2012 Issues: Equal Pay and the Wage Gap Workplace

Wage gap has been stagnant for a decade; Congress should pass Paycheck Fairness Act


(WASHINGTON, DC) – During last night’s town hall debate Katherine Fenton raised an important issue with tremendous impact on women and families, asking: In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?

With kudos to Katherine’s question, women working full time, year round continued to be paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts in 2011, according to National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) analysis of U.S. Census data. The 23-cent difference in men’s and women’s earnings has remained unchanged for the past decade. This gap in earnings translates into $11,084 less per year in median earnings, shortchanging women and their families. The wage gap affects women all across America: women are paid less than men in every state.

The wage gap is more pronounced for women of color. African-American women working full time, year round were paid only 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. And Hispanic women working full time, year round were paid only 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This translates into a loss of $18,817 for African-American women and $23,298 for Hispanic women every year.

“The National Women’s Law Center is pleased that the issue of pay equality is included in the national discourse, for it is among our nation’s most urgent issues,” said Fatima Goss Graves, NWLC Vice President of Education and Employment. “The wage gap has practical implications for millions of families. Just over 40 percent of mothers are their families’ primary breadwinners, and they need a full and fair income to support their households. Congress has a responsibility to address an inequity that discriminates against half the population and should immediately enact the Paycheck Fairness Act to finally move the needle on this economic imperative.”

For additional information on the wage gap:

NWLC experts are available to further discuss the wage gap issue.