Mar 31, 2023 - Politics

Average Arizona woman makes almost $8,500 less than male counterpart

Illustration of half-coins falling into a woman's hand.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Women's History Month is coming to a close, but the decades-long fight for gender wage equality will continue.

State of play: It's been illegal since 1963 to pay women and men differently if they're doing substantially equal work.

  • Yes, but: Loopholes exist that result in women continuing to make 82 cents of a man's dollar on average, per a Pew Research Center analysis.

The latest: An effort to bolster federal equal pay protections, dubbed the Paycheck Fairness Act, is back before Congress, Axios' Emily Harris reports.

  • More than 200 House Democrats, including all three of Arizona's Democratic representatives, co-sponsored the bill.
  • Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly co-sponsored a Senate version.

Why it matters: The typical Arizona woman makes almost $8,500 less than a male worker, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released last year.

  • The national pay gap is even steeper at about $10,200.

Details: The proposed federal legislation would halt the use of salary history in hiring and ban potential retaliation if employees discuss their salaries.

  • It would also require employers to prove that pay disparities are for legitimate reasons, such as education or experience.

Reality check: The Paycheck Fairness Act has been introduced at least 14 times in the past 25 years.

  • It passed the House four times. The closest it got in the Senate was 13 years ago, when it fell two votes short of 60 needed to move forward.
  • Supporters of the bill told Axios they realize this year's attempt is also unlikely to reach President Biden's desk.

Parting shot: While the roughly 82 cents to the dollar women made in 2022 signifies a huge leap from the 1982 gap — 65 cents — it's only slightly more than the 80 cents they earned in 2002, Axios' Ivana Saric reported.

Student loan debt disparity


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