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Gender Pay Gap Hits Mississippi Women Hard, Study Shows

WASHINGTON— Women in the workforce in the Magnolia state lose four billion dollars a year, says a study by The National Partnership. 

According to the study, if Mississippi women made the same pay that men made, women could afford food for 1.5 years, nine more months of mortgage and utilities, or more than thirteen months of rent.

The study shows that Mississippi women who work full time all year are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men – a yearly pay gap of $9,385.

That means, in total, women in Mississippi lose nearly $4 billion every year, which is money that could strengthen the state economy and the financial security of Mississippi’s women and families, including the nearly 201,000 Mississippi households headed by women.

The findings are the result of a new analysis conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families and released for Equal Pay Day tomorrow. It can be found at NationalPartnership.org/Gap. The full set of findings for Mississippi is available here.

“This analysis is a sobering reminder of the serious harm the wage gap causes women and families all across the country,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership. “At a time when women’s wages are so critical to the economic well-being of families, the country is counting on lawmakers to work together to advance the fair and family friendly workplace policies that would promote equal pay. There is no time to waste.”

Mississippi is not the only state with a wage gap. In fact, every state has a gender pay gap to some degree.  The National Partnership’s national analysis finds that the 10 states with the largest cents-on-the-dollar wage gaps in the country – from largest to smallest – are Louisiana, Utah, Wyoming, West Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama, Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana and Michigan. A ranking of all 50 states and the District of Columbia can be found here.

The pay gap is larger for African American women and Latinas who are paid 60 cents and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. For Asian women in the United States, the gap is smaller but persists. On average, Asian women are paid 84 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, although some ethnic subgroups fare much worse.

“It is unacceptable that the wage gap has persisted, punishing the country’s women and families for decades,” Ness continued. “Some state lawmakers have taken steps to address the issue by passing legislation to combat discriminatory pay practices and provide other workplace supports. It is past time for federal lawmakers to do the same. We need Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is a common sense proposal that has languished for much too long.”

There are efforts being made to correct the pay gap. Currently before Congress, the Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, help to break patterns of pay discrimination, and establish stronger workplace protections for women.

The National Partnership’s analysis of the wage gap was released in advance of Equal Pay Day on Tuesday – which marks how far into the new year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid the year before.

The analysis uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The findings for each state, along with state rankings, are available at NationalPartnership.org/Gap.

Mississippi Senator in D.C. Roger Wicker says he supports work being done to close the gap.

“There is bipartisan agreement that equal work should merit equal pay,” Wicker said. “Paycheck discrimination of any form on the basis of gender is wrong. Senate Republicans have put forward several proposals to address this important national issue. Ultimately, higher wages for working women are achieved through overall economic growth, better job opportunities, and workplace flexibility – not lawsuits and more regulations.”

Wicker is a cosponsor of a bill that would prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees for inquiring about or discussing their wages, and that bill has bipartisan support.

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