The Gap

No, that’s not the day’s high temperature. That’s 78.5 cents  and represents  what is known as the wage gap. In 2010, women in Maine earned 78.5 cents for every dollar a man earned, on average, for full time work.  Nationally, the figure is not much better – 78.3% of male earnings. In 1970, the gap was at 58.2% – giving women a gain of 20.3 cents in thirty years! Will it take another thirty years to close the gap

There are many factors that contribute to this earnings gap including discrimination in hiring and promotion, occupational choices, opportunities and segregation, women’s role in child-bearing and rearing, among the most prominent.
To bring attention to the wage gap, the US Department of Labor  issued a challenge last year to App developers  to create easy to use apps that draw on publicly available data and resources and that can help educate users about the pay gap and provide tools to combat it. The ‘Equal Pay App’ should make it possible to access information on wages broken down by gender, race and ethnicity, and to provide coaching on how to negotiate salary or find a career mentor. Winners of the App challenge will be announced on April 17,  also known as Equal Pay Day, the day  that reflects how far into the current year women must work to match what men earned in the previous year.  For more on this contest go to : http://equalpay.challenge.gov/

For more information, wage calculators and tools, and ideas for how to get involved see The WAGE project or salary.com.

For Maine specific wage gap data see the Maine Economic Growth Council’s 2012 Measures of Growth in Focus report, benchmark # 20, Gender Income Disparity.