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Gender Pay Gap Could Lead to 'Job-Hopping' for Ore. Women

Businesses not working toward pay equity for women could be making themselves less competitive. (gguy44/iStock)
Businesses not working toward pay equity for women could be making themselves less competitive. (gguy44/iStock)
April 4, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Today is Equal Pay Day, marking the additional months into 2017 it takes women to catch up with men's salaries from 2016. Nationally, women are paid 80 cents for every dollar men are paid for the same job.

Women in Oregon fare only slightly better that the nationwide average, receiving only 81 cents for every dollar men receive, according to a study from the American Association of University Women. However, the differential still stacks up to a loss of more than $9,000 annually.

Brenda Eichelberger, a senior instructor at Portland State University and a committee member of Mercy Corps Northwest's Women's Business Center, says the pay gap can lead to job-hopping for women who can find more competitive pay elsewhere.

"They train them and then they go off and have the opportunity to develop in other companies and they know the industries," she said.

The pay gap is worse for women of color. Nationally, a Hispanic woman makes 54 cents and an African-American woman makes 63 cents for every dollar a white man makes. If the pay gap continues to close at its current rate, Oregon won't see pay equity until 2055.

The Women's Business Center, the only one in Oregon funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides workshops across the state to help women develop their own businesses, educating them on everything from how to get loans to writing out business plans.

Eichelberger notes that starting a business is one way women can avoid losing wages to the pay gap.

"There is not a glass ceiling if you're a minority or a female and you own your own business," she added. "Then you're able to be in control of your resources."

Eichelberger says creating awareness about the issue is the first step toward solving it and praises the Women's Business Center's ability to empower and educate women, whether they start a business or not.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR