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Women in CT, U.S. Still Paid Far Less than Men

On average, women in Connecticut are paid $10,679 a year less than men. (Cade Martin, Dawn Arlotta/public-domain-image.com)
On average, women in Connecticut are paid $10,679 a year less than men. (Cade Martin, Dawn Arlotta/public-domain-image.com)
April 12, 2016

HARTFORD, Conn. - The gender wage gap is costing women in Connecticut more than $5.5 billion a year, that's one finding of a study released today.

April 12 is Equal Pay Day. Nationally, women earn 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, and would have to work more than three months extra to earn the same amount men were paid last year.

The study by the National Partnership for Women and Families found Connecticut a little better than average, with women earning 83 cents to the dollar.

But Vicki Shabo, vice president of the partnership, says that really adds up.

"If a working woman in Connecticut were paid the same as the working men on average, they would earn nearly two years worth of groceries, five more months of mortgage and utilities or nearly 10 more months of rent," says Shabo.

The gap is even wider for women of color, with African American women in Connecticut averaging just 59 cents to every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men; Latinas only 48 cents, and Asian women 80 cents.

According to Shabo, national figures show motherhood adds even more to the wage gap.

"Mothers, who work full time year round, are paid 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers," she says. "And for single mothers the situation is even worse, 58 cents for every dollar paid to fathers."

She adds the gaps persist despite the 1963 Equal Pay Act, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed in 2009.

Shabo says a new bill introduced in Congress would close some of the loopholes in those laws.

"The Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees who discuss their wages," she says. "And it would make it easier to prove that discrimination has occurred."

Support for that bill is sharply divided along party lines, but Shabo hopes that Equal Pay Day will help raise awareness and spur Congress to action.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT