Women’s wage gap seen in 97 percent of congressional districts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An unprecedented analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows the gender-based wage gap affects women in nearly every corner of the country.

In 97 percent of congressional districts — 423 out of 435 districts — the median yearly pay for women is less than the median yearly pay for men. This is the first-ever analysis of these data by congressional district, providing a unique opportunity for women, families and lawmakers to consider the local impact of disparities in pay.

The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The findings span all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts. Details on the gender-based wage gap in all states and congressional districts can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap.

“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. “These 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.”

Nationally, full-time working women are still paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to full-time working men, amounting to $11,084 each year, according to Census data. The congressional districts with the largest gender-based, cents-on-the-dollar pay differences are found in Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey and West Virginia. The two districts with the largest gap in wages 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.”

The National Partnership’s findings for all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts can be found here: www.NationalPartnership.org/Gap. More information on the wage gap can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/FairPay.

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