It has been nearly 60 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed, and since then, women have made tremendous strides in the labor force. However, women continue to be paid less than their male counterparts in every single state. The wage gap hits women of color the hardest—if today’s gaps do not close, over the course of a 40-year career, a Latina stands to lose more than $1 million to the wage gap in 28 states, and the same is true for Asian women in three states, for Black women in 13 states, for Native American women in 17 states, and for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander women in 13 states. Across the country, the career losses amount to $1.2 million dollars for Latinas and $964,400 for Black women.
A robust movement to close gender wage gaps has been sweeping across the country, including an increasing focus on requiring employers to be transparent about pay. In the past few years, lawmakers have introduced equal pay legislation in over two-thirds of states and many of these bills have become law. State efforts to close the wage gap not only make meaningful change for women’s and families’ economic security, but they also lift states’ economies. Unfortunately, in 2022, we also saw one of the first state bills actively attacking equal pay pass in Mississippi, and advocates should be on the lookout for similar harmful efforts in their state.
This fact sheet highlights states that enacted equal pay legislation in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.