Tuesday, April 8 was Equal Pay Day, a day marked by labor and women’s groups to point out the continuing wage disparity between women and men.
On average, it takes more than 15 months for a woman to earn what a man makes in 12. Women’s earnings nationally lag behind men’s, 77 cents to the dollar.
In Indiana the gap is even larger, says Sarah Fleischfink, senior policy counsel with the National Partnership for Women and Families.
"The wage gap of 73 cents for every dollar equals over $12,000 a year," says Fleisfink. "That amount of money would buy 99 more weeks of food or 17 more months of rent. You can tell that this has a real consequence for women and their families, they have less spending power."
Fleischfink says more than 12 percent of Indiana households are headed by women – that’s more than 300,000 family households statewide.
Lots of factors fuel the pay gap, and it persists to some extent in most occupations. One thing that might make Indiana’s wage gap worse, she says, is manufacturing, an economic sector where men have dominated in higher-earning jobs.
The pay gap is closing, slowly, but experts say at this rate it’ll take another 50 years until it disappears. Congress is set to vote later this week on a proposal that would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act.