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Report: Women Won't Make What Men Do Until At Least 2059

Minnesota ranks 18th in the pay gap between genders. (Carrie Cain)
Minnesota ranks 18th in the pay gap between genders. (Carrie Cain)
September 26, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS – If the gender pay gap continues to close at its current rate, women will reach pay equity with men in 2059, according to a new report from the American Association of University Women.

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

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 says Minnesota is slightly above the national average, with full-time, working women making 81 percent of what men working full-time make.

The report says if a man in Minnesota makes $52,000 a year, a woman at the same job will make about $42,000.

But Watkins says the pay gap can close. This summer, Massachusetts 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," she 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.

Watkins says it's important to think about how policies that close the gender pay gap affect women of color, as well.

"We really do need to include a racial equity lens as well as a gender equity lens when we're looking at policies,” she stresses. “All of these policies will really help end some of the racial inequities, as well as some of the gender inequity."

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN