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Report: Maine Women Earn 78% of Men's Wages

Maine ranks 30th in the pay gap between genders. (Texas A&M University)
Maine ranks 30th in the pay gap between genders. (Texas A&M University)
September 26, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine – If the gender pay gap continues to close at its current rate, women will reach pay equity with men in 2059, and according to a new report women are playing catch-up in Maine.

The report from the American Association of University Women finds women in Maine earn 78 percent of men's wages.

Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, says the issue isn't only that women are paid less for the same job title. She says often, as in the technology field, they are shuffled into lower-paying positions.

"Men might get the job as coders, which are the most highly paid jobs,” she explains. “And women get slotted into the testing part, where they still have to have a lot of computer and technology skills, but they just get paid less and they don't have the opportunity to really rise up in the organization, either."

The report finds full-time working women are slowly closing the gap, making about 80 percent nationally of what their male counterparts make.

Massachusetts is leading the way in New England. This summer the state passed one of the strongest equal-pay laws in the country, to ensure that companies pay equally for comparable jobs and job requirements.

"For example, cafeteria workers and custodians might be deemed comparable jobs, even though one is traditionally female and gets paid a lot less than the traditionally male custodial jobs," Watkins points out.

The report also found that African-American women make about two-thirds – and Hispanic or Latina women make about half – of what white men make nationwide.

In Maine the report says women are earning just under $37,000 a year for full-time work while the median income for men in Maine is just short of $47,000.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME