National Equal Pay Day supporters and critics speak out on wages

Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 8:30 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, women have worked 81 days to earn what a man did last year in the U.S.

Supporters of equal pay say the wage gap continues to increase while one Jackson think tank says gender gap information is misleading.

National Women’s Equal Pay Day, March 24th marks the date in 2021 when the National Committee on Pay Equity reports that women have worked long enough to earn what a man did last year.

According to Census Bureau data from 2018, the median salaries for all year round full time workers showed women earning 81.6 cents for every dollar men earned, statistically the same gap as in 2017.

Cassandra Welchlin ‚with the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, reports that while women make up half the workforce in the state, two thirds of those are minimum wage jobs.

“Women are getting higher degrees. They are,” said Welchlin. “They are graduating, but again they are being segregated in what again I call pink collar jobs in jobs that are not dominated by men.”

Mississippi Center for Public Policy President and CEO Douglas Carswell says the UK based Institute of Economic Affairs reports that the pay gender gap has never been narrower than today.

“The difference between men and women is caused by lifestyle choices that women make when they decide to stop working for a while and raise families,” said Carswell. “It’s not caused by prejudice and certainly doesn’t require top down government intervention.”

Welchlin and her 40 partner organization are pushing for an Equal Pay Law in the state to eliminate bans on salary discussion and requests for previous salary information in interviews. Carswell said government demands will increase obligations on small businesses which are already struggling to make payroll each month.

Federal law prohibits discrimination based on gender.

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