New Report Examines Virginia’s Gender Pay Gap
The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis is out with a report focusing on salaries paid to women.
The report, 'Same Work, Less Pay,' compares the pay of men and women.
Cassidy: Let's hope that the hard-working women in our state really enjoyed the hot dogs and the parades on Labor Day, because unfortunately, these days, they aren't as able to enjoy the fruits of their labor due to a very large and persistent gender pay gap in Virginia.
Michael Cassidy is President and CEO of the non-profit Commonwealth Institute.
Cassidy: It would be no exaggeration to say that, no matter how you slice it, working women in Virginia face a large and troubling pay gap when it comes to how the economy is rewarding their work. Our report documents the many ways in which Virginia's pay gap is large. In 2008, for example, in median annual income, we saw a gap of nearly 16,000 dollars between what women make and what men make, and this is the 15th largest gap nationwide.
The report also compared median hourly wages.
Cassidy: There the gap is at $3.59 an hour, which is 14th highest in the nation, and unfortunately, Virginia's gender pay gap doesn't occur just at the median level; it exists throughout the wage distribution and is actually more pronounced at higher wage levels.
For the past ten years or so, Cassidy notes, the gender wage gap nationally has seen steady decline, but not in Virginia.
Cassidy: Virginia's gender pay gap still exists when earnings are examined by the educational attainment of workers, and the size of the gap actually grows as educational levels increases, which means better-educated women earn a smaller share of similarly-educated mens' pay than do less-educated women; this is a particularly troubling trend.
What is it in the Commonwealth’s economy, he asks, that produces this persistent disparity in pay?
Cassidy: One of the things that you might think about is, well perhaps women are over-represented in sectors of the economy or in particular occupations, and that the pay in those areas lags and that's what's the cause of it; but when you look at the data, that's not what's going on, because when you look at the different industries and you look at different occupations, you see that the size of the gender gap does vary substantially by occupation, and it's not necessarily ones that are male-dominated or female-dominated.
What can be done to reverse the situation? Cassidy suggested:
Cassidy: Perhaps a sense that we just need to talk about this more and address this and acknowledge that this is going on in our economy, so that employers and employees can start to recognize any unknown or unconscious actions on their part where they're not rewarding women at the same level as men. Some folks have even presented the idea that we should do a better job of having people report the pay that they do offer people, so that we can have more transparency by individual companies or by sectors as to how much women are being paid versus how much similarly-situated men are.
Learn more online at thecommonwealthinstitute.org.
John Ogle, WCVE News