Equal Pay Day, April 8th, marks how far beyond the end of the year a woman needs to work to match a man's salary for a single year. The national average shows women earn 77% of men's salaries.
- Illinois: Women average $40,309 a year compared to men's $51,262. That's 21% less.
- Iowa: Women average $35,106 a year compared to men's $45,305. That's 23% less.
- Missouri: Women average $32,868 a year compared to men's $42,974. That's 24% less.
It's an issue, they say, that is frequently greeted with surprise.
“The pay gap definitely narrowed in the 70’s and moving forward, the pay gap was narrowing, but then it started to slow down, Meier said. “People aren’t informed about it. Often they think okay we are close or at equality and we’re not. There are more measures that need to be taken.”
According to the American Association of University Women, a woman graduating from the same university with the same major, taking a full-time job in the same occupation as a male classmate will earn 7% less than he does the first year out of college.
“This isn’t an issue of women leaving the workplace more than men or having less qualifications, said Meier. “This issue exists at all levels and it affects women with the same qualifications, education and experience as their male counterparts.”
Congress is considering several pieces of legislation to help close the wage gap including the Paycheck Fairness Act that would ban companies’ policies to keep pay secret.
President Barack Obama has announced he plans to sign an executive order Tuesday barring federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share salary information. Under the order, federal contractors would also be obligated to provide the U.S. Labor Department with data about their employees’ pay in relations to their race and gender.