DAVENPORT, IOWA (April 4, 2019) — Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. Tuesday, April 2, was Equal Pay Day. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

Iowa is falling behind other states when it comes to closing the gender wage-gap. Today, Iowa ranks 46th in the United States for the gender pay equality. In 2016, we ranked 35th.

On average, a woman working full-time in Iowa earns 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. This is worse than for the US as a whole (80 cents per dollar).

The situation is even worse for women of color. African-American women earn 61 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes. Latina women make 57 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes.

Even though women have made great gains in educational-attainment and workforce-participation, unequal-pay persists in most occupations. In fact, the pay-gap between men and women widens for those who attain higher education-levels.

Senate Democrats introduced a bill this session to address the problem by strengthening equal-pay laws and closing loopholes that some employers use to pay women less. Under SF223, employers could not stop employees from discussing their pay or retaliate against employees who do.

In addition, the bill narrows the reasons an employer can pay employees differently for the same work. It also establishes an Equal-Pay Task-Force to study and recommend ways of closing the wage-gap.

Unfortunately, the majority party took no action on the bill.

When we close the pay-gap, we lift the income of Iowa women and families, and strengthen our economy. Learn more about the wage-gap in Iowa and nationally from theAmerican Association of University Women.

 

Additional information

This is a legislative update by State Senator Jim Lykam, representing Davenport and Buffalo. For bio, photos and further information, go towww.senate.iowa.gov/senator/lykam.

To contact Senator Lykam when the Legislature is in session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at 563-391-1919. E-mail him at jim.lykam@legis.iowa.gov.

Senator Lykam serves on the following committees:

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