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Report: Equal Pay Still Years Away for Florida Women

Florida women must battle the gender pay gap and a preponderance of low-wage jobs. (IS_imagestore/morguefile)
Florida women must battle the gender pay gap and a preponderance of low-wage jobs. (IS_imagestore/morguefile)
April 4, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Many women across the country will rally today in support of equal pay, but a new report finds many obstacles to that goal in Florida and nationwide.

The Institute for Women's Policy Research analyzed earning trends going back decades and predicts that at the current pace, the gender wage gap won't close in this country until 2059.

Senior research associate Julie Anderson, says when you break down the projections by state, Florida actually will be the first to close the gap, but that's not necessarily good news.

"Women can catch up with men in Florida pretty quickly because men's earnings are relatively low compared to men in other states," she said. "So, it's not hard to catch up to the lower bar."

She says most of the other states projected to close the gap first, such as California, will do so because they have more family-friendly laws on the books, and a lower percentage of women working in low-wage jobs.

According to the report, in 13 states, a woman born today would not see equal pay during her working life.

Terry Sanders heads the Florida National Organization for Women, which has long pushed for a higher minimum wage, equal-pay laws and paid family and medical leave. She says the state needs not just a shift in policy but in policymakers.

"Women are 51 percent of the population in the U.S. now, and yet when it comes to the Legislature, there's another example of where it's really disproportionate," she explained.

Sanders says she hopes high-profile wage discrimination cases, such as those involving the U.S. women's soccer and ice hockey teams, will help raise awareness of the issue and contribute to what she calls a much-needed cultural shift.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL