South Dakota woman are earning $8,956 less than men, or 78 cents for every dollar. That's according to an analysis of new U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday, showing just how much the gender-based wage gap is affecting women in the state.
The numbers are based on the median yearly pay for men and women.
The finding is part of a first-ever analysis of these data by congressional district, conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. It provides a unique opportunity for South Dakota's women, families and lawmakers to consider the local impact of disparities in pay. More on the gender-based wage gap in South Dakota can be found here. The full analysis includes data for all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts in the country.
"It is stunning and deeply troubling to learn that the wage gap affects women in nearly every congressional district in the country. Women and their families are losing critical income for food, gas, rent, health insurance and more due to a punishing gender-based wage gap that has plagued this country for decades," said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership. "This new data should be a clear and resounding wake-up call for all lawmakers who have the power to pass legislation that would help close the gap and promote economic security for the women and families in their districts."
South Dakota's pay nearly mirrors the national average of 77 cents for every dollar paid to full-time working men, according to Census data. According to the new analysis, the congressional districts with the largest gender-based pay differences are found in Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey and West Virginia. The districts with the largest wage gap are in southern Louisiana; women there are paid just 61 cents for every dollar paid to men.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and establish stronger workplace protections for women. In the last two Congresses, the U.S. House of Representatives passed it, but it fell two votes short of moving forward in the Senate in 2010. It was reintroduced in the current Congress but blocked by a procedural vote in June of this year.
"The wage gap is taking a tremendous toll on women and their families throughout the country," Ness added. "The gap persists across industries, education levels and, as these data make clear, it spans the geography of our country. It's time for all members of Congress to take a hard look at the damage being done in their districts and commit to promoting fair wages by passing the Paycheck Fairness Act."
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