End the Gender Wage Gap

February 15, 2017

In Connecticut, median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job is $50,706 while median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $60,385.

This means that women in Connecticut are on average paid 83 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual wage gap of $10,679.

One of my priority bills this year, Proposed House Bill No. 5591 An Act Concerning Pay Equity in the Workforce, would require employers to provide equal pay to employees in the same workplace who do the same work.

The General Assembly’s Labor Committee is holding a public hearing on the bill on Thursday at 2 p.m. in room 2-A of the Legislative Office Building.

If you can’t make it to the hearing, you can e-mail testimony to labtestimony@cga.ct.gov with the subject line “Testimony on HB 5591.”

The gender pay gap is one of the most important, far-reaching issues we face as a society today. It affects not only working women, but their families and their communities as well.

According to the Center for American Progress, a woman working full-time earns nearly $500,000 less than a man over the course of her career.

The pay gap not only affects a woman’s day-to-day earning, but it also compromises her future retirement. The median income of women 65 and older is 44% less than men in the same age group. Women 75 and older are almost twice as likely as men to be living under the poverty line. This is due, in large part, to the cumulative financial loss years of pay inequality produces.

This gap affects all women, regardless of their level of education. In fact, the higher the level of education, the larger the pay gap grows. Often times, men who are less educated out-earn women with higher degrees. Women with a graduate degree earn an average of $5,000 less than men with a bachelor’s degree.

We have made gains, but progress is slow. At the current rate, we will not fully close the pay gap until 2059. That is why we need legislation like HB 5591. Forty-two years is just too long to wait.

For more information on the gender pay gap, read the report by the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.