Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Equal Pay and the Wage Gap

For more than four decades, NWLC has worked to close the wage gap and ensure that male and female employees get equal pay and benefits for comparable work. The Center has dramatically changed the workplace for women by successfully pushing for laws that could bring about pay equity for women. But there's still much more to be done. American women who work full-time, year-round are paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts — which means it's important to keep pushing for new legislation that would make the workplace fair for women.

One important tool, the Paycheck Fairness Act, is a common-sense bill that would give workers stronger tools to combat wage discrimination, bar retaliation against workers for discussing salary information, and ensure full compensation for victims of gender-based pay discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act (EEORA) is another important bill that addresses employment discrimination by removing the barriers that the Supreme Court erected in Wal-Mart v. Dukes to employees' rights to bring class-action suits under antidiscrimination laws. And raising the minimum wage would help close the wage gap, because two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women.

Learn More About Equal Pay and the Wage Gap:

Learn More About the Paycheck Fairness Act:

Learn more about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act:

Learn More about the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act:

 The Wage Gap, State by State Women are Not WorthLess Video
Families depend on women's wages more than ever. Read our fact sheets on the state-by-state wage gaps. Watch our Women are Not WorthLess video on the wage gap and be sure to share it with your friends!

Highlights

Fact Sheet | Long Overdue: Equal Pay for Maryland's Women & Families

April 14, 2015

Pay discrimination remains a persistent problem in the workforce. In Maryland, on average, women working full-time, year-round typically earn about 85.5 cents for every dollar earned by men. Asian American women in Maryland earn only 84.2 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, and the situation is even worse for African American women (69.7 cents) and Latinas (46.6 cents). SB 424 and HB 1051, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, along with SB 425, the Wage Disclosure and Discussion Protection Act, would strengthen Maryland’s equal pay law and provide workers with the tools they need to combat pay discrimination and close the wage gap.

Read more...

Fact Sheet | How the Wage Gap Hurts Women and Families

April 10, 2015

Women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are typically paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. This gap in earnings translates into $10,876 less per year in median earnings, leaving women and their families shortchanged. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and civil rights laws has helped narrow the wage gap over time, addressing the significant pay disparities that remain is critical for women and their families.

Read more...

Fact Sheet | Closing the Wage Gap is Crucial for Women of Color and Their Families

April 9, 2015
Women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. But the wage gap is even larger for many women of color working full time, year round, as African American women are paid only 64 cents, and Latinas only 56 cents, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. These gaps translated into a loss of $19,399 for African American women and $23,279 for Latinas in 2013. Closing the wage gap is, therefore, particularly important for African American women and Latinas, who are already more likely to have lower incomes and to be in poverty than virtually all other groups. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and other civil rights laws has helped narrow the wage gap over time, addressing the significant disparity that remains is critical for women and their families.
Read more...

Fact Sheet | The Wage Gap Over Time for Asian American Women

April 7, 2015

More than 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was passed the wage gap still persists. Women who work full time, year round in the United States are typically paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. The wage gap is a penny better for Asian American women—among full-time, year-round workers; Asian American women typically make 79 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. But in the last five decades, how much progress have Asian American women really made?

In 1988, the earliest year for which data are available, an Asian American woman working full time, year round typically made only 69 cents for every dollar paid to get white, non-Hispanic male counterpart. By 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, this figure stood at 79 cents—just over 10 cents less than it was a quarter of a century ago.

Read more...

More Resources

Fact Sheet | Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk: An Important Case for Low-Wage Women Workers and the Future of the Fair Labor Standards Act

November 02, 2012

Infographics and Internet Memes | Poster: The Wage Gap Shrinks the Pie for Everyone

October 31, 2012

Fact Sheet | Wage Gap FAQs

October 05, 2012

Fact Sheet | 2011 Wage Gap: State Rankings

September 20, 2012

Infographics and Internet Memes | The Wage Gap's Lost Decade

September 13, 2012