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Wyoming Tops Nation for Gender Gap in Wages

PHOTO: A new report shows that the wage gap between men and women in Wyoming is among the highest in the country. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
PHOTO: A new report shows that the wage gap between men and women in Wyoming is among the highest in the country. Photo credit: Microsoft Images
April 9, 2013

CASPER, Wyo. - Today is Equal Pay Day. It's noted every year to highlight the wage gap between men and women across the nation, and a new report from the National Partnership for Women and Families shows that Wyoming's gap is one of the largest in the country, with full-time women workers making $34,381 a year and men earning $51,630.

While the report points to discrimination in many cases, Rebekah Smith, program coordinator, Wyoming Women's Foundation, says there is more to the story here because of the dominance of oil and gas industry jobs, which women generally shun.

"It's not a clear-cut issue, it's not simply discrimination," Smith said. "There's just different ways that we could improve the wage gap."

The report shows that full-time working women in Wyoming make more than women in neighboring states.

Smith's organization issued a paper last year examining the wage gap and making recommendations,- such as improving pay for tipped workers. She said they are also educating women about how to negotiate for higher salaries.

"Women are less likely to negotiate their starting salary," she said, "and then the difference between men's and women's pay just expands as they move up in their careers."

The Wyoming Women's Foundation paper is available at www.wywf.org.

The national wage study based on U.S. Census Bureau data is available at www.nationalpartnership.org/.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY