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Women are still a long way from wage parity

Women are contributing to the economy at record rates, and that is especially true in Minnesota. In 2018, the labor force participation rate for Minnesota women was 66.3 percent, which is nearly 10 percent higher than the national average. Minnesota is also making great strides toward reducing the gender wage gap. Nationally, women are paid about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. A 2017 study by WalletHub found Minnesota women earn 84 cents for every male dollar.

While we may be ahead of the curve, we are still a long way from wage parity for women and men, especially for women of color, where we see wage gaps still as low as 49 cents to a white man’s dollar.

April 2 is Equal Pay Day, the date that marks how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned the year before. Equal pay for equal work is an essential initiative in which companies across our state must invest to ensure all women can contribute to our communities and businesses in impactful ways.

Equality cannot be achieved overnight but to continue taking steps toward equal pay, companies can improve diversity and combat the wage gap by implementing diverse hiring practices; offering benefits that support work-life balance such as flexible hours and paid maternity or family leave; providing employees with affordable health care; and prioritizing equal representation for women in the board room and other leadership positions.

This isn’t about parity for parity’s sake. Having women in leadership roles and ensuring diversity in the workforce ultimately benefits our economy, increases company returns, and improves average wages for all workers. If we continue to undervalue women we may miss out on the real impact they can have on our businesses and communities.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/03/2019 - 10:41 am.

    My question would be if we look at wage parity for new entrants into the work force in the past 5 years would we see a discrepancy?

    I would expect not.

    If we were to look at wage parity for new entrants into the work force in the past 10 years would we see a discrepancy?

    I would expect a higher number than the 5 year period.

    Extend this to 20 years and we will see results matching up with what is described in the article.

    This would indicate the problem is essentially solved going forward and the only remaining issue is reparations/remediation for those effected by decisions 25+ years ago.

    Certainly a problem; but, a problem that is going away….

  2. Submitted by Kathie Noga on 04/03/2019 - 02:05 pm.

    Women have experienced this a very long time and I am personally sick of this. It is the big corporation who are at fault. They want to save money, so they do it any way they can. Men are actually suffering because of this since in many families women work outside the home. The household gets short changed because of the attitude of these companies. It will take time because it is so entrenched. There a number of state legislators who actually voted against the ERA Amendment. This an embarrassment to our state.

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