Many women in Arkansas and across the country still do not receive equal pay for equal work. In some instances, the gender pay gap is even noticeable when men and women do the same job at the same company.
National Equal Pay Day is April 9th and organizers say it’s an opportunity to raise awareness about the wage disparities that still persist in the nation.
A new report by the American Association of University Women, or AAUW, highlights pay inequities and puts Arkansas in the top ten places where the wage gap is the narrowest. The AAUW is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization focused on gender equity issues since 1881.
Christianne Corbett, a senior researcher at the AAUW, worked on the gender pay gap report. She says Arkansas was in 10th place nationwide, because women in Arkansas are paid on average 82 percent of what men are paid.
“[Census data shows] the median earnings value for fulltime female workers in Arkansas was $30,752 and for men in Arkansas the median value of fulltime workers was $37,488… so there’s still an almost $7,000 gap and that’s not good news,” said Corbett.
The data also reveals that Arkansas’s high standing in the report is partially due to economic instability.
“In 2010, Arkansas was 41st in the rankings. Between 2010 and 2011, women’s wages went up a little bit in Arkansas and men’s wages went down a little bit in the state,” Corbett said. “Yes, Arkansas moved up to 10th place, but not necessarily for the reasons you want.”
Corbett says passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act in Congress will help close the wage gap by putting teeth into the already existing Equal Pay Act that has been around for 50 years. Click here to read the full report.