Ahead of Women’s Equal Pay Day Wednesday, there’s an even greater emphasis in the pandemic to acknowledge and address the gender wage gap.
March 24 marks the average date a full-time working woman earns as much as her male counterpart made in 2020.
The latest research shows white women earn 82 cents for every dollar a man makes, but for Black women, it’s 63 cents. Native American and Latina women make 60 and 55 cents, respectively.
Madeline Granato, policy director for the Ahead of Women’s Equal Pay Day Wednesday, there’s an even greater emphasis in the pandemic to acknowledge and address the gender wage gap. Women’s Education and Legal Fund, said closing the pay gap is an even bigger challenge in the pandemic.
She predicted women in fields with the highest layoff rates, such as retail and hospitality, will likely see long-term effects of the recession.
“The unemployment rate will impact the gender wage gap long term, because that’s a large period of time where women have really decreased their earnings, which adds up over time,” Granato explained. “And it impacts how much we’re able to save for retirement, how much we’re able to just put in savings in general.”
In Connecticut, women have filed the majority of unemployment claims since the pandemic began, according to a 2021 Connecticut Essential Equity report. And more than one in three unemployment claims have been filed by women of color.
Granato noted access to paid sick time and family medical leave is vital to help women, especially working on the front lines and in essential jobs, weather the storm of COVID-19.
“Nationally, women make up about 88% of registered nurses, 85% of personal-care aides,” Granato observed. “Even prior to COVID, due to the gender wage gap, there is research out there that shows that they lose about $5,000 per year, because they don’t make equal to their male counterparts.”
The equity report recommends Connecticut fully implement its paid family leave program, expand paid sick leave, and advance such policies as salary transparency for open positions, all to create a more equitable workforce.