Wolf administration marks Equal Pay Day, calls for pay equity for Pennsylvanians
The Pennsylvania Commission for Women, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry and other stakeholders highlighted the importance of Equal Pay Day and the importance of closing the wage gap between the sexes.
“The Pennsylvania Commission for Women is proud to host the Equal Pay Day event today. Our commission has looked at the gender wage gap and its impact on women in Pennsylvania for years. Women make up 51% of Pennsylvania’s population and are vital to Pennsylvania’s economy, but are not compensated adequately. Because of the gender wage gap, every woman in Pennsylvania will lose an average of about $460,000 over her lifetime,” said Commission Executive Director Moriah Hathaway. “Our goal is to help hardworking women across Pennsylvania and enable them to better support their families. We can achieve this by passing equal pay legislation and raising the minimum wage.
Equal Pay Day marks the length of the year that women must work to be paid as men were in the previous calendar year. On average, women working full time are paid just 83 cents for every dollar men are paid, and nearly two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women.
“Women add tremendous strength to our workforce, from entry-level positions to CEO positions, and it is absurd that we continue to hinder their earning potential,” First Lady Francis Wolf said. “The Wolf administration has taken steps to close the gender pay gap for state employees, and it’s time for Pennsylvania as a whole to catch up. We are hurting our women and our economy by complying with these outdated processes, and something has to change.
Governor Tom Wolf has called for an increase in the minimum wage every year since he has been in office, and once again he is asking the General Assembly to raise the wages of working Pennsylvanians.
Governor Wolf is asking for an immediate raise to $12 an hour on July 1, 2022, with annual increases until pay reaches $15 an hour. Further increases would be tied to inflation to ensure that working Pennsylvanians will never go without a 13-year increase in the cost of living again.
A $15 minimum wage would impact about 1.5 million workers, or 25% of all workers in Pennsylvania, either directly or indirectly. Of nearly a million workers who directly benefit from an increase to $15, 62.2% are women. This means an increase for 618,400 women, or 20.9% of all working women in the Commonwealth.
For many women of color, the gender pay gap is wider than for white women, compounded by the racial pay gap. According to the American Association of University Women, on average, Asian American and Pacific Islander women are paid 75 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Black women earn 58 cents for every dollar paid to white men. Latin women earn 49 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in Pennsylvania would also directly benefit:
- 31.9% of Hispanic workers.
- 26.3% black workers.
- 15.7% of Asian workers.
The gender wage gap isn’t just an example of deep inequality in our society, it’s holding Pennsylvania back. According to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the lack of pay equity costs women more than $915 billion each year. If the gender pay gap were closed, a working woman would earn, on average over her lifetime, an additional salary sufficient to cover:
- Over 13 months of child care.
- One year of tuition and fees for a four-year public university.
- Almost a year of food.
- Seven months of mortgage and utility payments.
- More than 10 months rent.
The Commission for Women was joined by Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier, Rep. Patty Kim and Harrisburg City Council President Danielle Bowers in calling for equal pay legislation and a raise minimum wage to help close the gender wage gap and provide the support working families need. .
“Governor Wolf’s proposal for a $12 minimum wage with a path to $15 by 2028 would directly increase incomes for nearly one million Pennsylvania workers, 62.2 percent of whom are women. This path to $15 would also put $3.3 billion in the pockets of Pennsylvania workers in the first year, a significant boost to our state and local economies as we continue to recover from the pandemic,” said the secretary Berrier. “A minimum wage of $12 an hour with a bridge to $15 is a long overdue investment in Pennsylvania workers and its economic future. Pennsylvania workers, especially Pennsylvania women, have waited long enough .
“Learning that black women earn significantly less than their male and white counterparts is disappointing, but seeing the amount of money black women earn relative to white men go down rather than up confirms the need for change,” said said LaDeshia Maxwell, executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on African American Affairs. “The majority of black women in the Commonwealth are the breadwinners of their households supporting their children and their communities, and they should be fairly compensated for the work they do. I know today is not Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, but we stand in solidarity with all women in the hope that change for some leads to change for all.
“The Asia-Pacific American community is a collection of more than 50 diverse ethnic groups who speak more than 100 languages and dialects,” said Stephanie Sun, executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Asian American Affairs. Peaceful. “It does a disservice to the community to lump all these people together and say they are all the same when they really are very different. For example, pay equity for all ethnic groups in the Asian-Pacific-American category is particularly very different. Burmese, Nepalese, Tongan, Samoan, Hmong and Cambodian women are paid an average of 50 to 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men. If we want to have a fair and just society, the same work must receive the same pay, regardless of gender or ethnicity.
“The persistent wage disparities with Latinas have lasted far too long. This year’s statistics reflect that Latinas are only paid $0.49 for every dollar paid to white men. This means the Latina pay gap has widened significantly since the global pandemic began. Based on these studies, it is important that we advocate for equal pay legislation and an increase in the minimum wage to help lift working families across Pennsylvania. Overall, these systemic problems with women in the workforce can no longer be ignored,” said Luz Colon, executive director of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latin American Affairs.
“Women leaders — household names and legendary strangers — recognize the value they bring to the job,” said Harrisburg City Council President Danielle Bowers. “Unfortunately, their magic wanes compared to their male counterparts when it comes to compensation. Women are expected to outperform in their roles, exceed the goals and metrics set for them, while receiving a fraction of the pay their male counterparts “seem to be entitled. All women, regardless of race, ethnicity, age or background, should be compensated fairly compared to their male counterparts.”
“Pennsylvania women face a devastating wage gap compared to their male counterparts, which is even more noticeable among women of color, who are not only paid less than men, but less than white women,” said said State Senator Tina Tartaglione. “The systemic discrimination that allows women to be underpaid needs to be addressed and corrected. While more than 2/3 of all workers earning Pennsylvania’s embarrassing minimum wage are women, it’s clear that more needs to be done to ensure that all workers are paid appropriately for their work, to both by raising our minimum wage and by addressing the deeper causes of wage disparity. »
“The majority of minimum wage earners are not teenagers but women. So as we commemorate Equal Pay Day on March 15, the symbolic date to show how far in the year the average woman has to work to match what the average man earned the year before, we must recognize that the PA minimum wage contributes to this. the gender disparity that we are trying to eliminate – not only for the benefit of working people, but also for the benefit of our families and our communities,” said State Representative Patty Kim.
Pennsylvania women work hard and deserve fair pay for their work. The Commonwealth can better support working women – and help them better provide for their families – by passing equal pay legislation and raising the minimum wage.