Equal Pay for Women? Not So Fast a New Report Says

Advocates for women say inequities in pay between men and women hurt families and the economy. Credit: Matthew calgrin/Morguefile.

Advocates for women say inequities in pay between men and women hurt families and the economy. Credit: Matthew calgrin/Morguefile.

Tennessee women are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, and it won’t get any better until 2059, if current conditions prevail, according to a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Jessica Milli, the study director, says the median income for a woman working full-time was more than $10,000 dollars less than men in 2014.
Milli says more needs to be done to close the gender wage gap, not only because she says women deserve to be paid equally for their work but because it’s hurting families and the economy overall.
“If you were to add up the earnings gains that women would get if they were paid the same as men – so in the same occupations, for the same hours of work – that would amount to an extra $450 billion into families’ pockets,” she points out.
Milli concedes the pay gap between women and men isn’t always due to unfair employers – more women work in occupations that historically have paid less.
Still, she says, policies to modernize overtime pay regulations, increase access to affordable child care and mandate paid family leave would go a long way to help shorten the time women will have to wait to be paid the same as men.
The report found neither women nor men saw a significant increase in inflation-adjusted earnings last year compared with 2013.
And it says women who are represented by a union earn on average over $200 more per week than those in nonunion jobs.
Milli notes that for decades, women have been adding more education and job experience to their resumes, but says investment in what she calls human capital hasn’t translated into fair earnings fast enough.
“Those losses due to the wage gap really add up,” she stresses. “Women lose about $530,000 by the time they reach the age of 59.”
Milli adds that losses over a career for college-educated women can be as high as $800,000. She says if the pace of closing the wage gap continues at the same rate as it has since 1960, it will be another 44 years before women see equal pay.