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April 13 2016

Equal Pay Day: Analysis Of A Complex Issue

Nooga
featuring Sabrina Schaeffer and Carrie L. Lukas

It's Equal Pay Day, a time when the discussion about the gender pay gap heightens. 

The date symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. 

On average, Tennessee women employed full time, year-round are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men.

That's a yearly gap of $7,652, according to new analysis from the National Partnership for Women & Families. 

"This analysis is a sobering reminder of the serious harm the wage gap causes women and families all across the country," National Partnership President Debra L. Ness said in a prepared statement. "At a time when women’s wages are so critical to the economic well-being of families, the country is counting on lawmakers to work together to advance the fair and family-friendly workplace policies that would promote equal pay. There is no time to waste."

Analysis breakdown?—Tennessee women lose almost $7 billion every year because of the pay gap. 

—That money could benefit 342,000 Tennessee households headed by women.

—For every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in Tennessee, black women, Latinas and Asian women who work full time, year-round are paid 69 cents, 51 cents and 87 cents, respectively.

—If the gap in Tennessee were eliminated, each woman who works a full-time, year-round job could afford food for more than a year, pay for mortgage and utilities for seven more months or pay rent for nearly 10 more months.

—Every state and 98 percent of the country’s congressional districts have a pay gap.

—The National Partnership’s national analysis found that the 10 states with the largest cents-on-the-dollar wage gaps in the country—from largest to smallest—are Louisiana, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana and Michigan.

—Nationally, women who are employed full time, year-round are paid, on average, 79 cents for every dollar paid to men.

—The gap is larger for black women and Latinas, who are paid 60 cents and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

—For Asian women in the United States, the gap is smaller but persists. On average, Asian women are paid 84 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, although some ethnic subgroups fare worse.

—The Paycheck Fairness Act, which is currently before Congress, would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, according to the partnership. It would also help stop pay discrimination and create stronger workplace protections for women. 

—A 2015 study from consumer website NerdWallet found that Chattanooga is one of 22 cities in the country where women earn more than men. Click here for more about that. 

A complex issue ?The issue of equal pay for men and women doing equal work is a complex one with many variables.

For example, some studies have found that the gender pay gap exists mostly among executive positions. 

And, according to a 2011 study from the Independent Women's Forum, the Government Accountability Office found that all but 7 cents of the wage gap could be explained by factors such as education, occupation and experience level for federal workers. 

In 2013, Nooga.com asked many local businesswomen about this issue. Click here to see what they said about the complexities.

Local women noted other issues—such as whether women are as aggressive in seeking more compensation as men—that may affect the gap.

Fast Company also has an article about the complexity of the issue. Click here

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Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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