Wage Gap Costs Alaska Women 3,749 Gallons of Gas, 15 Months of Rent, or Food for 2.1 Years
For Equal Pay Day, New Data Show Unequal Wages Hurt the State’s Women and Families
New data released for Equal Pay Day tomorrow reveal the significant costs of Alaska’s gender-based wage gap. Women in Alaska are paid just 75 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap in wages of $14,267. African American women and Latinas in Alaska fare worse, being paid $15,887 and $21,298 less than all men in the state, respectively. With 28,679 Alaska households headed by women, the new data show that these gaps harm both families and the state economy.
“This new analysis illustrates just how much harm the wage gap does to women and families throughout the country, and especially to women of color where the gap between the wages paid to women and men is staggering,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “With state economies struggling and women increasingly serving as the sole or co-breadwinners for their families, tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages each year takes a tremendous toll.”
According to the report, if the gap between men’s and women’s wages were eliminated, each full-time working woman in Alaska could afford to pay for groceries for 2.1 years, buy 3,749 more gallons of gas, pay mortgage and utilities for eight more months, pay rent for 15 more months, or purchase family health insurance premiums for 4.6 more years. These necessities would be particularly important for the 24.3 percent of Alaska’s women-headed households currently living below the poverty level.
Nationally, women working full time are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. Just as they do in Alaska, women of color fare worse. African American women are paid 62 cents and Latinas are paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to men. The gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963.
“The Equal Pay Act was enacted 49 years ago and women are still paid 23 cents less than men on the dollar,” Ness added. “Today, the wage gap causes enormous harm to women and families. It spans industries and persists regardless of education level. America’s women and families urgently need lawmakers to do much more to promote fair wages. Congress must not wait any longer. Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act must be a priority now.”
The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and establish stronger workplace protections for women, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the last two Congresses, but it fell two votes short of moving forward in the Senate in 2010. It has been reintroduced in the current Congress.
The National Partnership’s research on the wage gap was released the day before Equal Pay Day – which marks how far into the new year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid the year before. The data spans all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each of the reports, along with charts ranking the states by wage gap for all women and women of color, are available at www.nationalpartnership.org/
The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org
Posted: April 16, 2012