Equal Pay Day provides a moment to take stock of our progress during the 50 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act: today more women are in the labor force, women are pursuing post-secondary education at higher rates, and the pay gap between men and women has narrowed by 18 cents.
In 1963, the typical woman working full time, year round made just 59 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. The wage gap was 41 cents.
And where things stood in 2011 . . .
In another act from across the pond, Adele’s album 21topped charts around the world.
Touch-tones gave way to touch-screens. I personally joined the ranks of what many people now considered the norm: owning a smartphone. Other technology that probably sounded like sci-fi in the 1960s but was commonplace in 2011: iPads, Kindles, Roku, and so on.
In 2011, the typical woman working full time, year round made just 77 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. The wage gap is 23 cents.
When you look at the way some things have changed, 1963 feels like ancient history. . Yet there wage gap is one vestige of our past that’s alive and well – five decades later. Read more »
In 2011, more than one in five women was poor in Mississippi (22.3 percent) and Louisiana (20.6 percent). Only one state, New Hampshire, had a poverty rate of less than ten percent for women, at 8.9 percent. In the other 47 states and the District of Columbia, between 10 and 20 percent of women lived below the poverty line.
In 2011, more than half of female-headed families with children were poor in Kentucky (51.3 percent), Louisiana (50.3 percent), Mississippi (51.8 percent), and West Virginia (51.6 percent). In eight more states (AL, AR, ID, MI, NM, OH, SC, and TN), their poverty rates were 45 percent and above. Read more »
Last week, the Census Bureau released new poverty data and NWLC has been crunching the numbers. Today, we released our full report showing that poverty rates stabilized in 2011, but remained near historically high levels. As policy makers face critical budget choices in the coming months, we hope that they will remember the real people behind these numbers. We can do more to reduce these numbers.
Yesterday, the Census released 2011 data on health care coverage in the United States. The data reveals some encouraging news: In 2011, we saw positive trends in health coverage for the first time since 2007. Some 1.3 million more people had health insurance compared to 2010, and the overall proportion of those without coverage fell to 15.7 percent, down from 16.3 percent in 2010.
Women also fared better in 2011. The data shows that overall, more women had health coverage:
An additional 219,000 women had health coverage in 2011, with the percentage of uninsured women (18 to 64) declining slightly from 19.9 percent in 2010 to 19.6 percent in 2011.
An additional 760,000 women had Medicaid coverage in 2011, with the percentage of women covered through Medicaid rising to 12.3 percent from 11.6 percent in 2010.
NWLC’s analysis of yesterday’s Census data shows poverty rates generally stabilized after three years of increases. But one notable exception is the significant increase in the poverty rate for women 65 and older living alone, which rose to 18.4 percent in 2011 from 17.0 percent in 2010.
We can’t yet explain why poverty increased for this already vulnerable group of women; the poverty rate for all women 65 and older was unchanged from 2010 at 10.7 percent. But we do know that single elderly women are especially reliant on income from Social Security. So we’re worried that policy makers continue to look to the Simpson-Bowles report as a model for deficit reduction, including its proposal to reduce Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment by changing the measure of inflation to the “chained consumer price index,” because this proposal would especially hurt women.
Some politicians seem particularly intrigued by this idea, since it sounds like a technical change that might not be recognized as a benefit cut, and it starts out small. But the cut from the chained-CPI gets deeper every year. That’s particularly harmful to women because they live longer than men. Read more »
If you follow our blog, you already know that the 2011 poverty data were released by the U.S. Census today. The data show that more than 46.2 million people, or 15 percent of all Americans, were considered poor in 2011. Notably, there was no statistically significant change in the poverty rate from 2010—meaning that, unlike the past few years, poverty did not rise in 2011. Poverty among women and children, though higher than poverty among men, was also essentially unchanged in 2011. While it is a relief that the rate hasn’t increased for most groups, poverty still remains historically high.
So what’s the encouraging part? Government programs are keeping people out of poverty. Social Security alone prevented more than 21 million people, including 1.1 million children, from falling into poverty last year—no small feat for a 77 year old program. It’s also important to remember that the Census data is based on incomes that do not include non-cash benefits like food stamps (SNAP) or tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). If the value of SNAP benefits were counted as income in 2011, 3.9 million people would not have been considered poor, and accounting for the EITC would have lifted 5.7 million people above the poverty line. Read more »
Lilly Ledbetter, the tireless advocate for equal pay, knows firsthand how wage discrimination affects women and their families. Speaking at the Democratic National Convention last week, she reminded the country of her wage discrimination story. Lilly Ledbetter worked for Goodyear for nearly 20 years before discovering that she’d been paid unfairly, losing out on thousands of dollars over the course of her career there. After securing a jury verdict in her favor, in 2007 the Supreme Court determined that she would never receive the lost wages for all those years of discrimination because she didn’t complain about being paid unfairly in her first six months on the job. Less than two years later her namesake bill was passed, restoring the law to ensure that future workers could challenge their unfair pay. Under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the time period for challenging pay discrimination begins with the most recent paycheck that reflects unequal wages.
The data released today show that the typical woman is still paid 77 percent of a man’s wages. And when race and sex are considered together, the gap in earnings for women of color are especially stark: African American women make only 64 percent and Hispanic women make 55 percent when compared to white men. This disappointing news is the sort that should spark policymakers to move forward quickly with additional improvements to the fair pay laws. Yet, opponents of fair pay laws are continuing to attack even the Ledbetter Act. In a recent National Review online piece Carrie Lukas shockingly suggests that women are now worse off because of the Ledbetter Act. Never mind that the Ledbetter Act was passed with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. And never mind that the cases that have been restored since that Act was passed show that the Ledbetter Act had a critical impact. So, as we are faced with the news of a decade of no progress on the wage gap, what’s quite clear is that we cannot waste time revisiting the merits of the bipartisan Ledbetter Act. Below are just a few of the reasons that it is time to move forward on the next step in achieving fair pay – the Paycheck Fairness Act.
The Ledbetter Act restored longstanding law
The rule outlined in the Ledbetter Act, that as long as employees receive discriminatory paychecks they can continue to challenge wage discrimination, restores prior law to that applied by the EEOC and nine of the twelve federal courts of appeals before the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear. In other words, it put the law back to what everyone thought it was in 2007. With today’s news that the 23 cent wage gap has remained the same over the last decade, there is no doubt that more is required to overcome 10 years of stagnation. And we have yet to move forward with the policies that will actually update the outdated fair pay laws. Read more »
We all want girls to grow up believing they can be whatever they want to be. Girls’ empowerment slogans have found their way into pop songs, onto t-shirts and into girls’ hearts. Girls rock! Girls rule! Girl power!
But there’s some data out today that makes all that seem like magical thinking: the new wage gap numbers.
Equality minus 23%. Don’t try putting that on a t-shirt.
The wage gap for women has barely budged in over a decade, according to new data released today. The typical woman working full time, year round is paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to the typical man. This is unchanged from 2002, ten years ago. For women of color, it’s much worse, with the typical African-American woman paid 64 cents and the typical Latina woman paid 55 cents for every dollar paid to a white, non-Hispanic man.
The Census Bureau just released new data on poverty in the U.S. in 2011. In the second full year of the recovery that began when the recession officially ended in June 2009, poverty began to stabilize, though at a very high level: the overall poverty rate was 15.0 percent, statistically unchanged from the rate in 2010 (15.1 percent). Here’s a quick look at the numbers for women and families:
The poverty rate among women was 14.6 percent in 2011, statistically unchanged from 14.5 percent in 2010, but still the highest rate in 18 years. Men’s poverty rate was lower, at 10.9 percent in 2011 (statistically unchanged from 11.2 percent in 2010). A 14.6 percent poverty rate means 17.7 million women were living in poverty in 2011.
The poverty rate for women 65 and older was 10.7 percent in 2011, unchanged from 2010 and lower than the poverty rate for women overall. However, the poverty rate for elderly women living alone increased significantly to 18.4 percent in 2011 from 17.0 percent in 2010.