Gender Pay Gap: Utah women earn an average of 30 percent less than men, 2nd worst in the nation

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Monday, March 8, was International Women’s Day, an occasion for celebrating female achievement and equality, but when it comes to paychecks, Utah women still lag far behind. 

It’s called the Gender Pay Gap and Utah’s is the second worst in the nation.

During an International Women’s Day webinar, Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson (R – Utah) mentioned some of the problems Utah women face.

“We hear about the low college graduation rates among Utah women, the high domestic violence rates and unequal pay for equal work,” Lt. Gov. Henderson told online attendees.

According to a recent study by business.org, the average Utah man earns over $57,000 a year while women make an average of just under $40,000. That 30% gap in 50th among the states and District of Columbia, only ahead of Wyoming (35%).

Lecia Langston, a Senior Economist for the Utah Department of Workforce Services says it’s a result of three factors. The first is a higher education difference.

“If you look at the difference between women with a bachelor’s degree or higher and men with a bachelor’s degree or higher, we have the largest gap by far of any state in the nation,” Langston told ABC4 News Monday.

Utah also has the largest families of any state.

“It’s pretty hard to work full-time, even part-time, and be raising five, six kids you know,” Langston said. “Number three I think that plays into that is that Utah women have not been as fast to move into non-traditional occupations. When we look at wages between men and women, the general rule of thumb, and it’s not always true, is the general rule of thumb is the more non-traditional the job is for a woman, the higher the pay, and women just have not moved into those non-traditional jobs as fast as our sisters nationally.”Langston says that Utah can close the gap if more women pursue college degrees and high-paying careers which can support them and their families if necessary.

“Women need to take into account how much they’re going to earn when they make a career choice,” Langston said. “I can guarantee there is something you like to do that you can get paid well at.”

To read the full report, go to: https://www.business.org/hr/benefits/gender-pay-gap/

Business.org says US women effectively stop getting paid on Oct. 29 due to a national pay gap of 18% and women don’t have a higher average salary than men in any US state. Vermont has the smallest pay gap, with women earning only 9% less than men overall.; Wyoming has the largest pay gap, with women earning 35% less than men overall.; Washington DC boasts the highest average salary for women at $75,750.

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