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The Hill: Study: Women lose $500B a year from unequal pay

April 11, 2016

The Hill: Study: Women lose $500B a year from unequal pay

By Lydia Wheeler

Women in America collectively lose nearly $500 billion every year because they’re paid less than men, according to a new study from the National Partnership for Women & Families released on Monday.

The analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, which comes ahead of Equal Pay Day on Tuesday, found that women with full-time jobs, on average, make 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, which totals to about $10,762 a year.

African-American and Latina women make even less: 60 cents and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. 

“This analysis is a sobering reminder of the serious harm the wage gap causes women and families all across the country and especially women of color,” the partnership’s president, Debra Ness, said in a statement Monday. “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 strong, fair and family friendly workplace policies that would promote equal pay. There is no time to waste.”

The analysis also found that if the wage gap were eliminated, each woman who works a full-time, year-round job could afford to buy food for 1.6 more years, make seven more months of mortgage and utilities payments, pay rent for 11 more months or pay for nine more years of birth control.

On the eve of Equal Pay Day, Democrats urged Congress to take up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act introduced last year by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). They also raised it as a campaign issue in a call organized by Emily’s List, a liberal group that backs female candidates who support abortion rights.

Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.) said the bill would close the loopholes that have kept women from achieving pay equity.

“Unfortunately, our Republican colleagues have voted down this effort,” she said. “This is why we need to bring more women to Congress.”

Angie Craig, a Democrat running the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), accused him of “stonewalling” the legislation.

Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and his Republican colleagues, she said, would rather spend their time debating how to move the country backward by defunding Planned Parenthood.