April 11, 2018

Equal Pay Day: Maine women earn 84 cents for every $1 paid to men

A state-by-state analysis released for Equal Pay Day on Tuesday reveals that a woman employed full time in Maine is typically paid just 84 cents for every dollar paid to a man — a yearly pay difference of $7,650.

The new analysis conducted by the National Partnership for Women and Families uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau to compare the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It found that Maine has the eighth smallest gender wage gap in the country.

Even so, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families, the pay gap means Maine women collectively lose almost $2.3 billion annually in lower wages compared to men with comparable skills and experience. If the gap was closed, NPWF reported that on average, a woman working full time in Maine would be able to afford:

  • 57 more weeks of food for her family
  • nearly six more months of mortgage and utilities payments
  • nearly one additional year of tuition and fees for a four-year public university
  • the full cost of tuition and fees for a two-year community college
  • more than 9.5 additional months of rent, or
  • 11.6 more months of child care each year.

"Equal Pay Day is a disturbing reminder that women overall have had to work more than three months into 2018 just to catch up with what men were paid in 2017, and black women and Latinas must work considerably further into the year," NPWF President Debra L. Ness said in a news release. "The wage gap cannot be explained by women's choices. It's clear that discrimination contributes to it — and equally clear that it's causing grave harm to women, families and the country.

How Congress might close the gap

According to the analysis, the gender wage gap is largest in Louisiana and Utah, followed closely by West Virginia and Montana. It's smallest in New York, California and Florida.

Nationally, white non-Hispanic women are typically paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, black women 63 cents and Latinas 54 cents. Asian women are paid 87 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, although some ethnic subgroups of Asian women fare much worse. The wage gap for mothers is 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.

To address the gender wage gap problem, the partnership is urging Congress to pass:

  • The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help break harmful patterns of pay discrimination and establish stronger workplace protections for women;
  • The Fair Pay Act, which would diminish wage disparities that result from gender-based occupational segregation;
  • The Healthy Families Act, which would guarantee workers the right to earn paid sick days;
  • The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program;
  • The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would update and strengthen protections against discrimination against pregnant workers;
  • The Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act, which would restore abortion coverage to women who receive health care or insurance through the federal government and prohibit political interference with health insurance companies that offer coverage for abortion care;
  • Measures that would increase the minimum wage, eliminate the tipped minimum wage and strengthen protections against sexual harassment in the workplace.

"Not only does the gender wage gap rob women of a fair paycheck, it makes families less secure and slows economic growth," Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, said in a statement released on Equal Pay Day. "A record number of women are now the primary breadwinners in their families, yet they are systematically shortchanged when it comes to their salary. These women, their families, businesses and the Maine economy suffer as a result. We must do better."

House Majority Leader Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, also issued a statement: "Women face daily challenges that threaten their ability to stay in the workforce. The pay gap coupled with a lack of affordable child care and sick leave make working full time as a mother difficult for most and impossible for some. The strength of Maine's economy depends on women and men pulling ahead together and right now, we're not doing enough to make that possible."


2018 Report on Gender Wage Gap


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