New Research on Gender Pay Gap
Report Shows Gender Pay Gap Narrowing, But Not For All Women
Updated research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) funded by WFCO shows the gender pay gap has narrowed for some women, but there is a long way to go to achieve equal pay for all women.
Since 2015, the gender pay gap in Colorado has narrowed for women aged 16 and older who work full-time, year-round from 80.0 cents to 86.0 cents on the dollar earned by men who also work full-time, year-round.
However, even as our state’s economy has grown, many women have struggled to grow their own wages. A higher percentage of all women live in poverty than just three years ago, and the gap between the wages of most women of color and white men (the highest earners) has worsened.
Research Findings on Gender Pay Gap and Poverty
The updated research from IWPR shows that:
- Substantial pay disparities across racial and ethnic groups persist. Hispanic women earn just 53.5 cents for every dollar earned by white men and black women earn 63.1 cents. Both percentages have declined slightly since IWPR’s Economic Status of Women in Colorado 2015.
- While some have experienced economic progress, other women have fallen further behind. In 2004, 90.4% of all women lived above the poverty level. That number fell to 85.7% in 2016.
- The difference between women’s and men’s median annual earnings, $7,000, would pay for 1.9 years of community college tuition, a path to prosperity that WFCO makes attainable to low-income women through direct-service programs provided by grantees.
Read IWPR’s full report.
“These trends are troubling because The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s vision is a future where Colorado women and girls of every background and identity prosper and that’s not happening,” said Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of WFCO.
Julie Andersen, senior research associate with IWPR, agreed.
“Since 2004, Colorado’s grade for women’s poverty & opportunity has actually gotten worse, moving from a B to a B- due to an increase in the percent of women in poverty, despite the increasing share of women with higher levels of education,” explained Andersen. “To improve the economic status of women in the state and the economy overall, addressing the low earnings and high rates of poverty faced by women of color will be critical.”
The Essential Work of WAGES to Close the Pay Gap
The findings from the report reinforce the essential work of WFCO through our WAGES program. WAGES focuses on programs and policies that boost and maintain economic gains for women and their families through access to careers with livable wages, job training and education, affordable child care, and pay equity.
“Achieving pay equity would propel more Colorado women toward economic security and strengthen the economic engine of our entire state,” said Louise Myrland, vice president of programs. “From IWPR’s 2015 report, we know that if Colorado achieved pay equity, an additional $9.2 billion would be added to the economy.”
WFCO continues to prioritize closing the gender pay gap for every woman in Colorado. On April 10, Equal Pay Day, WFCO will announce new equal pay legislation we support, as well as our Annual Luncheon special guest, a groundbreaking equal pay advocate.