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New Mexico Women’s Wages Lag Behind Men

Women in New Mexico make only 78 cents for each dollar men earn, and Latino women make just 55 cents.(Steve Debenport/iStock)
Women in New Mexico make only 78 cents for each dollar men earn, and Latino women make just 55 cents.(Steve Debenport/iStock)
April 14, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. - As millions across the country noted Equal Pay Day this week, women in New Mexico found very little to celebrate. A new report out this week said the pay gap in New Mexico costs the average employed woman almost $10,000 a year, as she makes just 78 cents per dollar paid to a man, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Rachel Lyons, senior government affairs manager for the National Partnership for Women and Families, said that means full-time working women in New Mexico are at higher risk of living in poverty.

"In New Mexico, women are losing more than $2.3 billion per year due to the wage gap," she said. "This means their families, businesses and the economy suffer. It means they don't have the money to spend on basic goods and services in their communities and all this stuff that drives the economy."

Lyons said the wage gap can be even larger for women of color. For example, among New Mexico's women who hold full-time, year-round jobs, Latinas are paid 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. She said eliminating the wage gap would mean working women in New Mexico could buy more than an extra year's worth of groceries for their families, and could make an additional year of rent payments.

The national average for all women is 79 cents on the dollar. Lyons said that the wage gap across the country persists regardless of the industry or the education level and is present in almost all occupations. She added that research shows about 40 percent of the wage gap is due to bias and discrimination, and that doesn't appear to be changing.

"We've done this every year, and unfortunately, the wage gap is not closing," she added. "We see a slight increase and a small trend, but to us, it's the unfortunate truth that the wage gap remains in every state."

She said that politicians of all stripes should pay attention. Statistics show that among women, 70 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of independents, and 88 percent of Democrats say they would likely vote for a candidate who supports equal pay.

The New Mexico data can be downloaded here. The national data can be downloaded here.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - NM