“The fact that women are the primary breadwinners in more than 40 percent of households with children, but are only making 78 cents on the dollar is unacceptable. For women of color, that gap is even higher.”

WASHINGTON, DC — In recognition of National Equal Pay Day (April 14), which underscores the stark wage differences between men and women, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is making clear that the “gender gap” has very real consequences for women and families and is urging policy makers to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which has been introduced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“The fact that women are the primary breadwinners in more than 40 percent of households with children, but are only making 78 cents on the dollar is unacceptable. For women of color, that gap is even higher — with African American women earning 64 cents and Latinas earning 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white man.

“At Planned Parenthood Action Fund, we hear from women every day that are working full-time jobs and struggling to make ends meet. Closing the ‘gender gap’ is an actionable way policy makers can and should move forward to ensure women are given the tools they need to succeed at home and in the workplace.

“These are real economic issues facing women and their families. Anyone who tells you otherwise is out of touch with the majority of American women.

Background:

  • The "gender gap" in pay persists, despite the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work.
    • According to the latest data from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), full-time working women earn 78 cents on average for every dollar a man earns.
    • That means nationally, a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job is paid $39,157 per year while a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is paid $50,033 per year.
    • The gap is even wider for women of color, with African American women earning 64 cents and Latinas earning 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. White women make 78 cents while Asian American women make 90 cents for every dollar earned by a white man.
       
  • This gender gap is more than a statistic — it has real-life consequences. The fact that women are the primary breadwinners in more than 40 percent of households with children, but women are only making 78 cents on the dollar is unacceptable.
    • Consider this: Working women in the United States are paid, on average, more than $10,000 less per year than men. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, that’s the equivalent of 86 weeks of food expenses or one year of rent.
    • According to the Center for American Progress, mothers are primary or sole breadwinners in 41 percent of families in the United States, and mothers are the primary or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families.
    • That means women’s wages are key to their families’ ability to make ends meet and get ahead.
       
  • Thanks to increased access to reproductive health care, more women than ever are in the workforce. Unfortunately, some workplace policies have not kept up with this progress.
    • More women than ever have entered the workforce, thanks in large part to expanded access to birth control.
    • A 2012 University of Michigan study found that fully one-third of the wage gains women have made since the 1960s are the result of access to oral contraceptives. This study also found that the decrease in the gap among 25–49-year-olds between men’s and women’s annual incomes “would have been 10 percent smaller in the 1980s and 30 percent smaller in the 1990s” in the absence of widespread legal birth control access.
    • Additional studies have found that access to contraception contributed significantly to more young women obtaining at least some college education and to more college-educated women pursuing advanced professional degrees.
    • Highlighting the fact that birth control is a top economic driver for women, Bloomberg Businessweek recently listed contraception as one of the most transformational developments in the business sector in the last 85 years.