Senate Democrats

Fair Pay Act Is Vital to Ensuring Women Receive Equal Pay

Pay discrimination continues to be a very real problem for workers throughout our society. Women make only 77 cents for every dollar made by men, while African-Americans and Hispanics make 18 and 28 percent less than whites respectively. Women have been especially hard hit by the recent economic downturn, and must have protection against pay discrimination. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restores the law to its original intent, helping to ensure that women earn equal pay for equal work. Senate Republicans are standing in the way of this crucial legislation to help all Americans achieve economic equality.

Women have been hit particularly hard by the current economic downturn:

Women Are Being Hit By Economic Downturn Especially Hard. “Women were already in a precarious economic position, and the economic downturn is hitting them especially hard, according to an analysis released today by the National Women’s Law Center.”  [National Women’s Law Center, 1/28/08]

  • Unemployment Rate for Women Maintaining a Family Is Especially High, Jobless Women Are Less Likely to Receive Unemployment Benefits. “The unemployment rate for women maintaining a family is higher than for men and women generally, reaching 6.9% in December, up from 6.2% a year ago… Less than half (about 37%) of all unemployed workers receive unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. Jobless women are even less likely than men to receive UI benefits because of eligibility rules that disproportionately disqualify women.” [National Women’s Law Center, 1/28/08]
  • Women Are at Greater Risk of Being Hit By the Subprime Mortgage Crisis. “Women are 30% to 40% more likely than men to have a subprime mortgage loan, even though their credit scores are equal to (or slightly better than) men’s. This puts women at greater risk of rising and unaffordable mortgage payments and foreclosure.” [National Women’s Law Center, 1/28/08]
  • Women Are Hit Harder By Rising Food and Energy Prices, Budget Cuts for State Services. “Women’s lower incomes mean that rising energy and food prices take a bigger bite out of their family budgets.  And lower-income women and their families rely on state services such as Medicaid, child support enforcement, and child care assistance, which face cutbacks as a growing number of states confront budget deficits.” [National Women’s Law Center, 1/28/08]

Women Have Suffered Steeper Decrease in Real Median Wages Than Men, Face Higher Risk of Large Drops in Income During Economic Downturn. “The downturn has caused women’s wages to fall and this decline is significantly larger than what men have suffered. In 2007, the real median wage for adult women workers dropped 3 percent; wages for adult male workers dropped by .5 percent over the same period. Women’s wages are also more volatile than men’s wages, and they face a much higher risk of seeing large drops in income than men do.” [Senator Kennedy Press Release, 4/18/08]

Pay Disparity Exacerbates Economic Strain on Women, Their Families. “Existing pay disparities for women exacerbate the economic strain on women and on households run by women, since women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.” [Senator Kennedy Press Release, 4/18/08]

Women Have Much Fewer Savings to Rely on During Times of Economic Hardship. “Women have significantly fewer savings to fall back on in a time of economic hardship. Non-married women have a net worth 48% lower than non-married men, and women are less likely than men to participate in employer-sponsored retirement savings programs.” [Senator Kennedy Press Release, 4/18/08]

Female Entrepreneurs Most Concerned About Economy for 1st Time in 6 Years. “For the first time in six years, the U.S. economy tops health care as the No. 1 issue affecting women business owners, according to a survey conducted by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). ‘The response from women entrepreneurs clearly reflects the growing concern with the U.S. economic outlook,’ said Barbara Kasoff, president of Washington, D.C.-based group. ‘Given the key role that small business plays in our overall economy, the survey results can help shape federal and state policies.’” [Washington Business Journal, 4/18/08]

Even college-educated women face significant pay gaps across the country:

State

Difference in Earnings Between College Educated Men and Women

Earnings Gap as a Percentage

Rank

Alabama

$19,000

71%

32

Alaska

$12,000

81%

12

Arizona

$13,000

78%

17

Arkansas

$10,000

80%

36

California

$17,000

76%

27

Colorado

$18,000

72%

23

Connecticut

$22,000

71%

5

Delaware

$12,000

81%

9

D.C.

$17,000

78%

2

Florida

$18,000

72%

27

Georgia

$63,000

74%

28

Hawaii

$13,000

77%

30

Idaho

$11,000

81%

38

Illinois

$17,000

74%

18

Indiana

$22,000

69%

26

Iowa

$13,000

77%

41

Kansas

$15,000

74%

39

Kentucky

$12,000

77%

40

Louisiana

$23,000

64%

45

Maine

$10,000

83%

31

Maryland

$16,000

78%

3

Massachusetts

$22,000

71%

7

Michigan

$22,000

70%

11

Minnesota

$14,000

77%

14

Mississippi

$14,000

73%

45

Missouri

$13,000

78%

29

Montana

$10,000

77%

51

Nebraska

$12,000

78%

43

Nevada

$12,000

80%

20

New Hampshire

$18,000

73%

19

New Jersey

$24,000

72%

1

New Mexico

$17,000

73%

25

New York

$12,000

82%

6

North Carolina

$13,000

78%

22

North Dakota

$10,000

79%

46

Ohio

$18,000

73%

21

Oklahoma

$12,000

78%

44

Oregon

$19,000

70%

37

Pennsylvania

$16,000

76%

13

Rhode Island

$14,000

79%

10

South

Carolina

$15,000

72%

48

South Dakota

$11,000

77%

50

Tennessee

$15,000

74%

35

Texas

$18,000

71%

33

Utah

$16,000

74%

24

Vermont

$10,000

80%

42

Virginia

$23,000

70%

8

Washington

$20,000

71%

16

West Virginia

$12,000

79%

34

Wisconsin

$12,000

80%

15

Wyoming

$17,000

70%

49

Bookmark and Share