Harmful patterns of wage disparities are once again in the spotlight as people across the country observe Equal Pay Day.
The occasion — four months and four days into 2017 — marks how far into the new year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid in the year before.
A new report by nonprofit advocacy group the National Partnership for Women & Families is revealing the far-reaching implications of that disparity.
Highlighting New York as one example, the organization’s analysis — which used data from the U.S. Census Bureau — found that women employed full time, year round in the state are paid just 89 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap of $5,916.
“That means New York women lose a combined total of nearly $54 billion every year — money that could strengthen the state economy and is especially significant for the more than 1,045,000 New York households headed by women, 27 percent of which are in poverty,” the report said.
What’s more, according to the analysis, if the gap between women’s and men’s wages in New York were eliminated, a woman in the state who holds a full-time, year-round job would have enough money for nearly one more year of food, nearly three more months of mortgage and utilities payments, five more months of rent, more than six additional months of child care, nearly one additional year of tuition and fees at a four-year public university, or 1.1 additional years of tuition and fees for a two-year community college.
“This analysis shows just how damaging that lost income can be for women and their families, as well as the economy and the businesses that depend on women’s purchasing power,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership, in a release. “Entire communities, states and our country suffer because lawmakers have not done nearly enough to end wage discrimination or to advance the fair and family friendly workplace policies that would help erase the wage gap.”
Nationally, women who hold full-time, year-round jobs in the U.S. are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, according to the data. The discrepancies are even worse for minority women. Black women are paid 63 cents and Latinas just 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, according to the National Partnership.
Meanwhile, white, non-Hispanic women are paid 75 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. Asian women are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. And, according to the organization, mothers with full-time, year-round jobs are paid 70 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.
The National Partnership found that the largest cents-on-the-dollar differences in the country are in Wyoming, Louisiana, West Virginia, Utah and North Dakota. The smallest cents-on-the-dollar differences are in New York, Delaware and Florida.
“Numerous studies show that the wage gap persists regardless of occupation, industry, education level or perceived personal choices,” Ness said. “That is why we need a set of public policies that ensure women have access to good and decent-paying jobs, the support they need to stay and advance in their careers, and fair and nondiscriminatory treatment wherever they work and whatever jobs they hold. That means fair pay and practices, family-friendly workplace standards, full funding for federal agencies that investigate and enforce fair pay, and comprehensive reproductive health care.”