It's no secret that women make less money on average than men in the United States. The oft-cited statistic is that women earn about 77 cents for every dollar men do. But the Center for American Progress has broken down the wage gap by state in a new report. We don't want to say it's entirely accurate. It may, in fact, be problematic. But let's look at the figures before we get to that.
Photo: Courtesy The Center for American Progress.
So, most glaringly, this chart shows as little as a 15-cent gap in Vermont, Nevada, and Maryland, and over twice that in Wyoming. Jordan Weissmann at The Atlantic on the on other hand, thinks the wage gap statistic must be taken with a grain of salt. Comparing the totality of men's and women's wages is not always reliable because men and women often work in different industries, he says. "As a rule, women tend to work in lower-paying careers. They also tend to work fewer hours, thanks largely to family obligations, and often take breaks in their career to take care of children, both of which bring down their pay." That's not to say that gender bias doesn't exist in terms of hiring and wages paid in a given profession, but it influences the overall wage-gap statistic. (We're wary of such sweeping generalizations about who works where and for what, but we see the writer's point.)
And despite Wyoming's purported 36-cent gap, we don't want to call the state out as singularly sucky for women. In fact, The Center for American Progress's report gives Wyoming an overall C for its general "state of women in America" — Georgia, Indiana, South Dakota, and a half-dozen others get a fat F — which counts not only the wage gap but the overall economic security, public policy that benefits women, the number of leadership roles available to women, reproductive rights, and more. It's a fascinating read. Check out the full report here. (The Atlantic)