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Why Women in Idaho Mark Equal Pay Day

Idaho ranks in the bottom 10 when it comes to the pay gap between men and women. (Rochelle Hartman/Flickr)
Idaho ranks in the bottom 10 when it comes to the pay gap between men and women. (Rochelle Hartman/Flickr)
April 4, 2017

BOISE, Idaho – Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, marking the additional months into 2017 it takes women to catch up with men's salaries from 2016. Nationally, women are paid 80 cents for every dollar men are paid for the same job.

The gap is greater for women in Idaho, who receive only 74 cents for every dollar men receive, according to a study from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). That differential stacks up to a loss of more than $11,000 annually.

Kathy Scott, co-president of the American Association of University Women of Idaho, says the higher wage gap for Idaho mothers, who make 64 cents for every dollar fathers make, can make life hard.

"Women are in many cases now, the primary breadwinner in a family, and when they don't make enough money to sustain a good living, it has a ripple effect through our entire economy," she explained.

Scott notes the pay gap is worse for women of color. Nationally, an Hispanic woman makes 54 cents and an African-American woman makes 63 cents for every dollar a white man makes. If the pay gap continues to close at its current rate, Idaho won't see pay equity until 2083.

However, Scott also says there is more attention being paid to the pay gap. Referring to an Audi commercial that ran during this year's Super Bowl, Scott says there is a shift happening in how the culture at large thinks about this issue.

"Seeing companies doing that kind of advertising, and you've got companies starting to pledge that we're going to pay our employees, women or men, equally and fairly," she said. "So I do think there are changes occurring. It's just that it's very slow progress."

Scott says the issue goes beyond pay. She says women sometimes face a double standard on pay negotiation, and usually are not expected to negotiate. AAUW of Idaho is hosting a free workshop in Boise on July 13 to help women become better negotiators and understand the median pay for jobs, given their qualifications.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID