INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana gender wage gap is getting wider, according to a new study from the Indiana Institute for Working Families.
According to the study, Indiana’s wage gap widened by two percentage points in 2016, and now sits at 26 percent. This means on average, full-time working women earn just 74 cents for every dollar full-time working men earn. According to the institute, the spike comes after the Hoosier state saw the gender pay gap shrink over the past few years.
“We’ve had a steady wage gap decrease in Indiana over time. To see it increase was surprising,” policy analyst Erin Macey said.
Macey says the wage gap can be explained by three major factors, the first being industry and occupation segregation.
According to Macey, Hoosier women are more typically clustered in fields that pay less (this accounts for about 50 percent of the gap). She also points to the fact that women are more likely to experience workforce “interruption” in their careers, either by choice or lack of support on issues such as child care (this accounts for about 15 percent of the gap). Macey says the remaining percentage of the cases (about 35 percent) are examples of women with the same education, same experience, and same occupation as their male counter parts.
“Part of it is addressing pay discrimination, and that’s employers taking a close look at what they’re paying women and men in similar positions. It’s also employers looking at whether or not women are reaching leadership positions,” she said.
The study also highlights that women of color are more sharply affected. According to the study, “black and biracial women experience a gap of 36 percent and the gap between Latinas and all Hoosier men who work full-time is 44 percent – a difference of $21,567 per year.”
Macey points out that there are numerous steps state lawmakers can take to help shrink the gap.
“We need to give women the tools to combat pay discrepancy when they are qualified and being paid less than men we could strengthen our equal pay law, collective bargaining is another tool that helps women and men close those wage gaps. We need to be looking at all of those things, she said”
She also says raising the minimum wage will also help assure access for family-sustaining income.
For more on the study, you can visit here.