Closing the gender wage gap in Arizona

 

In Arizona, the median for men’s earnings is $44, 285 versus women’s earnings of $37,021.  Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
In Arizona, the median for men’s earnings is $44, 285 versus women’s earnings of $37,021. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Women in Arizona earn 84 cents for every dollar men make.

Women are doing relatively better in the state compared to the  national average, where women earn 78 cents for every dollar men make. In Arizona, the median for men’s earnings is $44, 285 versus women’s earnings of $37,021.

More and more women are attending college, even surpassing the amount of men and dominating the workforce, yet still earning less than men.   Nationally, the gender wage gap 22 percent according to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).

Stephanie Roman, a researcher at IWPR, is just one of the many people working to advocate change on the gender wage gap. IWPR works with the Department of Labor  and has found through data analysis that the gender wage gap is narrowing, but very slowly.

“In my opinion the gender wage gap is not narrowing quickly enough,” Roman said. “Looking back at the data which we have since 1960, women were getting paid 61 cents to the dollar. Now it averages out to 78 cents to the dollar. The pay gap still hasn’t closed. Given that it’s 2014 we should have achieved pay parody by now.”

There are many factors that go into the pay gap like education and experience.

“There’s a big portion of the gap that is just unexplained,” Roman said. “Discrimination fits into that unexplained piece.”

Roman says there are many reports of recent male and female college graduates with the same experience level and the same education and even right after college that wage gap still exists. That can be interpreted as discrimination.

“At that point you can’t argue that men and women have made different life choices especially since they are at the same level going into a job,” Roman said.

According to Catherine Hill of the Arizona Association of University Women (AAUW), the pay gap has just barely changed in over a decade. At the rate at which America is going, it could take until 2058 for women to finally receive equal pay.

Research done by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) shows that after controlling in factors such as education, occupation and hours put in, women are still earning less than men, “a 7 percent pay gap that persists between male and female college graduates just one year after graduation.”

AAUW says in order for women to earn equal pay there needs to be action, both legislatively and executively. The next step to reaching fair pay would be passing the Fair Pay Act (S.168/H.R. 438), a bill that would require employers to provide equal pay for work of equal value.

Melissa Delany-Moule, communications and event coordinator, at the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona says it’s going to take big changes to our current way of what is considered the norm.

“Perhaps there will be a solution to the problem and perhaps there will not be,” Delany-Moule said. “It’s going to take strong women and allies advocating for change.”

Tania Mashkoory is a reporter at Arizona Sonora News, a service with the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona. Reach her at tmash@email.arizona.edu

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