Gender pay gap is subject of roundtable

Women working full time, year-round in Pennsylvania are paid just 79 cents on the dollar of what men are paid

  • First Lady Frances Wolf hosts roundtable on equal pay (Photo provided)

First Lady Frances Wolf and members of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women joined business leaders, lawmakers, and advocates on Aug. 6 for a roundtable discussion at the Governor’s Residence on gender-based pay discrimination.

The talk focused on Governor Wolf’s executive action to address the gender pay gap in state government and the need to enact similar policies to protect all women in Pennsylvania.

“When women are paid just 79 cents on the dollar of what men are paid, we have a real problem,” said Frances Wolf. "And the problem is even worse for women of color, with African American women making just 63 cents on the dollar of what men are paid. We have taken steps to eliminate the gender pay gap for Pennsylvania state employees, but we need to do more. Working together, I know that we can make equal pay for equal work a reality for all Pennsylvanians.”

On June 6, Governor Wolf signed an executive order directing state agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction to:

No longer ask job applicants their salary history during the hiring process.

Base salaries on job responsibilities, position pay range, and the applicant’s job knowledge and skills.

Clearly explain the pay range on job posting The Executive Order, which applies to management-level positions, takes effect 90 days from the day it was signed.

“The gender pay gap is wrong. It is wrong for women, it is wrong for families and it is wrong for Pennsylvania,” said Randi Teplitz, chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. “The Commission for Women was proud to stand with Governor Wolf when he signed his executive order banning this practice in state government, but now we must come together to ensure that no woman in Pennsylvania is paid less simply because of her gender.”

The First Lady was also joined by advocates who have been strong voices to end the pay gap in the state capitol and throughout Pennsylvania, including the American Association of University Women.

“Pay equity is not just a matter of fairness but the key to families making ends meet,” said AAUW-PA Public Policy Co-Chair Barbara Price. “Wage discrimination limits women's choices and has real consequences. It impairs their ability to buy homes and pay for a college education and limits their total lifetime earnings, thereby reducing their retirement savings and benefits.”

Women working full time, year-round in Pennsylvania are paid just 79 cents on the dollar of what men are paid. That gap widens among women minorities, with black women making 63 cents on the dollar, Native American women making 57 cents on the dollar, and Latina women making 54 cents on the dollar.

Pennsylvania ranks 29th out of the 50 states for pay disparity, and fifth among its seven surrounding states.

August 7 is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, which signifies how long into the year it takes an African American woman to make the same amount of money a man makes for the year prior. This means that a black woman would have to work more than 200 additional days to make the same amount of money a white man makes in a year.

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