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Stanton, Gallego Work to Close Gender Pay Gap

Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Kate Gallego announced Tuesday a new effort to ensure that City of Phoenix contractors – those paid with taxpayer dollars – practice equal pay for equal work among men and women.

This morning, on National Equal Pay Day, Stanton asked Gallego to lead an effort over the next few months to draft an equal pay measure that better ensures fair pay in the workplace, and includes mechanisms to enforce the policy.

Across the nation, women are paid 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. Although it trails the District of Columbia in pay equity, Arizona has the smallest pay gap among the 50 states: women earn about 86 percent of what their male counterparts earned. [Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

“The fact that women are paid less for the same work as men is a strike at our core values,” said Stanton. “We have a responsibility to do something about it, and we can take the lead in Phoenix by making sure that companies who do business with the city pay equal wages for equal work.”

“We know that when women win, Phoenix will win,” said Gallego. “I look forward to the day when Equal Pay Day will be January 1. Women should no longer have to work more than four additional months to make the same salary that men did last year. I appreciate Mayor Stanton’s leadership on this important issue.”

Later this year, Gallego will present her recommendation for a City Council vote. As a state, Arizona last considered equal pay legislation in the 1970s. [Source: “BLS data: Arizona has lowest gender pay gap among states,” Cronkite News Service, Feb. 1, 2014]

“I applaud the efforts of my colleagues to close the gender wage gap here in Phoenix,” said Councilwoman Laura Pastor. “Especially in District 4, home to many working families and female-headed households, this effort has the potential not only to help women in the workforce, but to truly move our community forward.”

Equal Pay Day aims to raise public awareness about the gap between men’s and women’s wages. The date – April 8 – was selected to represent how long into the year women must work to earn what men made last year.

Over the course of a woman’s career, pay inequality adds up. “A women who worked full time, year round would typically lose $443,360 in a 40-year period due to the wage gap, and have to work 12 years longer than her male counterpart to make up this gap.” [Source: Fifty Years and Counting: The Unfinished Business of Achieving Fair Pay, National Women’s Law Center, 2013]

Wage discrimination harms families. Women are the primary breadwinners in more than 41 percent of families with children, including 8.6 million families across the country headed by single mothers. [Source: National Women’s Law Center]

The gender gap has not closed in nearly a dozen years. Women earned 77 percent of their male counterparts’ earnings in both 2002 and 2013. [Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

Minorities experience the most significant pay gap. Hispanic women make 53 percent of what white men make; Native American women make 60 percent; and African-American women make 64 percent. [Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey]

There is a gender pay gap in nearly every occupation. A 2014 report from the American Association of University Women found that, “From elementary and middle-school teachers to computer programmers, women are paid less than men in female-dominated, gender-balanced, and male-dominated occupations.”

Education does not close the gender gap. “At every level of academic achievement, women’s median earnings are less than men’s median earnings, and in some cases, the gender gap is larger at higher levels of education.” [Source: The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap, American Association of University Women, 2014]

At all education levels, even after experience is considered, the wage gap gets worse as a woman’s career progresses. “A Bloomberg Businessweek story examined wage gaps within occupations and found that out of 265 major occupations, women’s median salary exceeded men’s in only one occupation – personal care and service workers.” [Source: FAQ About the Wage Gap, National Women’s Law Center, September 2013]

Professional women sometimes experience the most significant pay gap. “Female CEOs earn 69 cents for every dollars earned by their male counterparts, and female lawyers make tens of thousands of dollars less than their male peers.” [Source: Think Progress, Jan. 29, 2013]

Female newspaper editors, for example, earn 79 percent of their male counterparts, and male paralegals earn 11 percent more than women in the same job. [Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]

The pay gap grows and wage loss accumulates over the course of a woman’s career. “By the time women reach 39, their wage growth pretty much stops altogether.” Wage growth for men continues until age 48. [Source: “Mapping the Glass Ceiling,” New York Times, May 29, 2012].

Women without children experience wage discrimination. Just a year out of college, women make 82 percent of the wage of male peers who do similar work.