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On Equal Pay Day, Idaho 5th Worst in Nation

April 12 is Equal Pay Day, highlighting the pay gap between men and women which, in Idaho, is substantial. (calgrin/morguefile)
April 12 is Equal Pay Day, highlighting the pay gap between men and women which, in Idaho, is substantial. (calgrin/morguefile)
April 12, 2016

BOISE, Idaho - Today is Equal Pay Day, which marks the number of additional days the average American woman would have to work just to earn the same amount her male counterpart made in 2015.

In terms of equal pay, a new study from the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress ranks Idaho fifth worst in the nation, because in the Gem State, men earn just over 27 percent more than women.

Nationally, the figure is 21 percent, or about 79 cents for women to a man's dollar.

Shari Chatterton, director of the Women's Business Center of Idaho, says Idaho's 2015 "Status of Women in Business" report had some pretty grim numbers as well.

"Idaho is pretty rough for women in business," says Chatterton. "Last year's Status of Women in Business, we are 50th in the nation and women in professional or managerial positions, we are also 50th. We are 44th in the nation for wage equality."

The report says states with higher minimum wages fare better on the gender pay gap, but Idaho has one of the lowest in the country.

State lawmakers ignored pleas to raise it during the just-ended session, and even passed a law to keep municipalities from doing so on their own.

Chatterton says despite the odds, the Women's Business Center is doing its part to help Idaho women start their own ventures.

"We believe through self-employment, there are opportunities for women to be able to have a livable wage and for us to kind of level the playing field," says Chatterton.

The report says Congress could improve female workers' lot by passing the Equal Rights Amendment, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and policies that guarantee paid family and sick leave, universal child care and flexible work hours.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - ID