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FAQ About the Wage Gap

Women working full time, year round in the United States were typically paid only 79 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts in 2014. For women of color, the gaps are even larger. This fact sheet provides details about the wage gap measure that the Census Bureau and the National Women’s Law Center use, factors contributing to the wage gap, and how to close the gap.

The Wage Gap By State for Women Overall 2014

Families depend on women’s wages more than ever, but women working full time, year round are typically paid less than full-time, year-round male workers in every state. Nationally, women working full time, year round typically make only 79 cents for every dollar a man makes and the size of the disparity varies by state. Women fare best in Washington, D.C., where women working full time, year round typically make 89.5 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. New York and Hawaii follow Washington, D.C. with the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings above 85 percent in both states. Women fare worst relative to men in Louisiana, where women’s earnings represented only 65.3 percent of men’s earnings.

Recently Introduced and Enacted State and Local Fair Scheduling Legislation

Employees increasingly face just-in-time scheduling practices, including being given very little notice of their work schedules, being sent home early when work is slow without being paid for their scheduled shifts, and being assigned to call-in shifts or on-call shifts that require them to call their employer or wait to be called by their employer, often within two hours of their potential shift, to find out whether they will be required to report to work. In addition, many employees have very little ability to make adjustments to their work schedules without penalty. More than a third of parents say they have been “passed over” for a promotion, a raise, or a new job due to a need for a flexible work schedule. Among low-wage workers, about half report having little flexibility in the hours that they work.

There is a growing movement to improve workplace scheduling practices so that workers and their families can better plan their lives. In the past year, lawmakers have introduced legislation at the federal, state and local level to respond to these difficult scheduling practices. In 2014, San Francisco passed a Retail Workers’ Bill of Rights. The Ordinance provides scheduling protections for employees in certain types of jobs. Also in 2014, Michigan introduced a bill modeled after the federal scheduling legislation that was introduced earlier that same year, the Schedules That Work Act. And in 2015, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Oregon introduced bills to curb difficult scheduling practices. This fact sheet provides an overview of this recently enacted and proposed state and local legislation.

Reports & Toolkits

October 01, 2015
Women make up two-thirds of the over 23 million workers in low-wage jobs—defined as jobs that typically pay $10.50 per hour or less—although they make up slightly less than half of the workforce as a whole.
September 15, 2015
The women who make up the low-wage workforce, who work in jobs that typically pay $10.50 per hour or less, may not be who you think.

Fact Sheets

October 12, 2015

Women overall working full time, year round in the United States are paid only 79 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. But the wage gap is even larger for Latinas who work full time, year round—they are paid only 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This gap, which amounts to a loss of $25,177 a year, means that Latinas have to work 22 months—past the beginning of October—to make as much as white, non-Hispanic men did last year alone.

October 08, 2015


Planning for retirement doesn’t have to be stressful. Over time, even saving small amounts every year can add up. Every little bit helps to supplement your Social Security benefits when you retire! For more information and resources, visit

Legal Briefs & Testimony

September 03, 2015

Over 150 organizations have joined NWLC in defending the rights of pregnant workers and asking members of Congress to co-sponsor and support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act!  You can send this letter to your Representative or Senator to get them to sign on to or vote for this legislation.

August 13, 2015

Federal Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Girl Raped as Part of Sting Operation Orchestrated by School Officials

Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued a unanimous decision in favor of the female plaintiff who was raped as an eighth grader by a male student in an Alabama middle school in the case Hill v. Madison County School Board. The Court's decision gives a green-light to the young woman to proceed to trial with her claim that the school's outrageous response to her student-on-student sexual harassment  resulted in her rape and violated her rights under Title IX and the U.S. Constitution. The National Women's Law Center represented the plaintiff together with co-counsel Mastando & Artrip, LLC, arguing against the school board and school officials and urging today's result. The U.S. Department of Justice also filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the plaintiff.


National Women’s Law Center Files Federal Court Appeal in Sexual Assault Case
September 17, 2014

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and the Alabama law firm Mastando & Artrip, LLC have filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in a lawsuit against the Madison County School Board and its officials for violating Title IX, the U.S. Constitution, and state law.  The case alleges that the Defendants did not properly respond to a long pattern of sexual harassment by a male student, and instead arranged for a 14-year-old female student to meet him in the bathroom in order to catch him in the act of harassment so that he could be punished.  The female student was raped by the male student in the bathroom before anyone arrived to catch him.

Coalition Action Materials

October 08, 2015

The AFL-CIO, National Women’s Law Center, 9to5, National Association of Working Women, Equal Rights Advocates, Legal Momentum, National Partnership for Women and Families, Southwest Women’s Law Center, Women Employed, and the Women’s Law Project write to respectfully request that the German Government, as a major shareholder of Deutsche Telekom, press the company to reform policies that are har

September 23, 2015

On September 18, 2015, 24 national organizations sent a sign-on letter to members of the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee, the House Education & Workforce Committee, and House and Senate Leadership urging the House-Senate Conference Committee on legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to retain and strengthen key provisions

Webinars & Presentations

Below are resources related to past NWLC webinars, conference calls and other presentations. Please see our list of upcoming calls & webinars.


October 08, 2015

A companion to our Webinar Wednesday series, co-sponsored with Law Students for Reproductive Justice, this fact sheet discusses the intersection between transgender rights and reproductive justice. Reproductive Justice demands that all people have the economic, social, and political power to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality, and reproduction.  Basic human needs, such as access to quality health care, economic security, and the ability to live free from violence are essential to reproductive justice. But these needs are not a reality for many transgender individuals who face countless socioeconomic barriers and systematic oppression.

July 22, 2015

This webinar, co-hosted by NWLC and CLASP,  covers critical information about the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization law currently being implemented by states looking -closely at provisions of the new CCDBG law that most impact low-wage workers