Equal Pay Day – the day in the year when women’s wages finally catch up to men’s from the previous year – is finally here. That it took 92 days into 2013 for this day to arrive is downright depressing.

For those readers too busy working hard for 77 cents on the dollar to read our extensive policy analysis released for the occasion, here is the CliffsNotes version of what you need to know.

What’s behind the wage gap?

There are a number of factors that contribute to unfair pay for women: Some of the key culprits are discrimination resulting in lower pay for women doing the same jobs as men, occupational segregation of women into low-paying jobs that are devalued precisely because they are done by women, the economic hit that women still take for providing care to their families due to the lack of employer or government-provided paid leave and paid sick days, and racial disparities.

What does the wage gap look like for women of color?

It’s much, much worse. African-American women and Hispanic women are paid 64 cents and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to a white, non-Hispanic man. Closing the wage gap is crucial for women of color and their families.

What is the wage gap in my state?

Click here to find out about your state’s wage gap. The wage gap varies a lot from state to state.  The states with the smallest gap between men and women overall are Vermont, Maryland, California, Nevada, and Washington, D.C.. North Dakota, West Virginia, Utah, Louisiana, and Wyoming pull up the rear. But the progress for women overall in some states is often not shared by women of color. For example, D.C., has the narrowest gap for women overall – 91 cents on the dollar. But D.C. is nearly the worst state– at 49th — for African-American and Hispanic women, who are paid 53 cents and 44 cents on the dollar, respectively.

Who is losing out because of the wage gap?

The wage gap hurts women and families. It starts when women enters the workforce, and continues until retirement. Closing the wage gap adds an additional $11,084 a year to the family budget.

What would the Paycheck Fairness Act do to close the wage gap?

The Paycheck Fairness Act would put teeth into the Equal Pay Act by bringing the remedies for pay discrimination claims in line with the remedies for other types of discrimination; ensuring that employees can find out what their coworkers are being paid without being retaliated against; and closing loopholes in employer defenses to equal pay claims.


Every Woman Matters

Every Dollar Matters

The Wage Gap Matters

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