Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Equal Pay Day 2010: Families Can’t Afford the Gender Wage Gap
Press Release

RELEASE: Equal Pay Day 2010: Families Can’t Afford the Gender Wage Gap

April 20, 2010

By Heather Boushey Jessica Arons, Lauren Smith

Interactive Map: The Persistent Career Wage Gap

Interactive Map: Women Provide for Their Families

Download the full memo with additional data (pdf)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—It’s no longer breaking news this Equal Pay Day that women are a crucial part of today’s workforce. Women edged up to just 50 percent of workers on U.S. payrolls for the first time in October 2009, and two-thirds of American families with children now rely on a woman’s earnings for a significant portion of their family’s income. The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything, which we released last fall, identified areas where American institutions have and haven’t caught up with the realities of today’s workforce. Chief among the shortcomings is the fact that a gender pay gap persists almost 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act.

The gender pay gap has taken on added importance as men have been more likely than women to lose jobs during the Great Recession. This loss of a man’s paycheck means that millions of families now rely on a woman’s job to make ends meet. The persistent gender pay gap is adding insult to injury for families already hit hard by unemployment.

Our newly analyzed state-by-state data demonstrate that mothers in every state and the District of Columbia are financially supporting their families—and many are their family’s primary breadwinner. Women’s earnings are critical to their families’ financial stability. Yet they continue to face a career wage gap that sets them back hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout their lives. Women face this gap regardless of their education, occupation, or where they live.

It’s time for government and businesses to make good on their commitments to American families by taking concrete steps to eliminate the gender wage gap.

Download the full memo with additional data (pdf)