It has been over 55 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed, and since then we have seen women make tremendous strides in the labor force. However, women continue to be paid less than their male counterparts. Women working full time, year round typically are paid just 82 cents for every dollar paid to men working full time, year round. Women of color are hit the hardest by the wage gap. Black women are typically paid just 62 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, and Latina women are typically paid only 55 cents for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts. Among the states, women fare best in California and New York, where women working full time, year round typically make 88 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. Women fare worst relative to men in Louisiana, West Virginia, and Wyoming, where women’s earnings represented only about 70 percent of men’s earnings, respectively.
Across the country, there is a growing movement to finally close these wage gaps. In the past few years, lawmakers have introduced legislation in over two-thirds of the states to finally ensure that workers receive equal pay, no matter where they work, 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, they also lift the states’ economies. This fact sheet highlights states that enacted equal pay legislation in 2018, 2019 and 2020.