Michigan’s Wage Gap 10th Worst in the Nation

New data released for Equal Pay Day April 17 reveal the significant costs of Michigan’s gender-based wage gap. Women in Michigan are paid just 74 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap in wages of $12,540. African American women and Latinas in Michigan fare worse, being paid $15,854 and $20,866 less than all men in the state, respectively. With more than 495,000 Michigan households headed by women, the new data show that these gaps harm both families and the state economy.

Description: http://www.nationalpartnership.org/images/content/pagebuilder/infographic.equalpayday.MI.jpgThe analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The full report on the wage gap in Michigan, which ranks 41 among the 50 states, can be found here.

“This new analysis illustrates just how much harm the wage gap does to women and families throughout the country, and especially to women of color where the gap between the wages paid to women and men is staggering,” said National Partnership President Debra L. Ness. “With state economies struggling and women increasingly serving as the sole or co-breadwinners for their families, tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages each year takes a tremendous toll.”

According to the report, if the gap between men’s and women’s wages were eliminated, each full-time working woman in Michigan could afford to pay for groceries for 2.2 years, buy 3,227 more gallons of gas, pay mortgage and utilities for 10 more months, pay rent for 17 more months, or purchase family health insurance premiums for 4.4 more years. These necessities would be particularly important for the 33.8 percent of Michigan’s women-headed households currently living below the poverty level.

Nationally, women working full time are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. Just as they do in Michigan, women of color fare worse. African American women are paid 62 cents and Latinas are paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to men. The gap has been closing at a rate of less than half a cent per year since passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963.

“The Equal Pay Act was enacted 49 years ago and women are still paid 23 cents less than men on the dollar,” Ness added. “Today, the wage gap causes enormous harm to women and families. It spans industries and persists regardless of education level. America’s women and families urgently need lawmakers to do much more to promote fair wages. Congress must not wait any longer. Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act must be a priority now.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and establish stronger workplace protections for women, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in the last two Congresses, but it fell two votes short of moving forward in the Senate in 2010. It has been reintroduced in the current Congress.