Wage gap hurts families

Today is Equal Pay Day. It represents how far into 2011 women have to work to make the same salary as men in 2010. This year it’s nearly 100 days into the year. It’s more than a third of the way through the year and women are just now catching up to men in the last calendar year!

The worst part is, women should already be making equal wages to men according to the law! But without the teeth to enforce it and without the means to fight wage discrimination, millions of women have to just put up with being treated like second-class workers.

With white women making approximately 77 cents on every dollar men earn (58 cents for Hispanics and 68 cents for African-American women), women have to work harder and longer hours just to break even. As we all struggle through these hard economic times many families simply can’t afford to have their female breadwinners bringing home $23 less dollars for every $100 a man earns. Nationwide, working families annually lose $200 billion in lost wages. That could buy a lot of gas, groceries and rent!

The National Partnership for Women and Families breaks it down by state. So how does Nevada do (PDF)?

In Nevada, on average, a woman working full time is paid $35,691 per year, while a man working full time is paid $43,425 per year. This creates a wage gap of $7,734 between full-time working men and women in the state.

That adds up to more than a $2.4 billion loss for Nevada families every year! Or, to put it another way, the amount that Nevada women are short-changed is nearly $1 billion more than the state budget deficit — projected at $1.5 billion by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

According to NPWF, if the wage gap were eliminated in Nevada it would mean any one of these things:

  • 58 weeks of more food on the table (more than a year’s worth!)
  • four more months of mortgage and utilities paid
  • eight more months of rent!
  • three more YEARS of family health insurance premiums
  • More than 2,000 additional gallons of gas

As our state struggles with one of the highest budget deficits in the nation, our elected officials are hacking away at vital social services for Nevada’s most needy. And with 23 percent of women-headed households in Nevada falling below poverty line (PDF), these cuts are hitting home for too many families!

The wage gap is hurting us all! The only way for a healthy future for Nevada is for the wage gap to end!

Originally posted on The Sin City Siren.

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