Data released Tuesday for Equal Pay Day show that wages for Utah women remain considerably lower than for men, which is costing families throughout the state thousands of dollars each year.
Women in Utah are paid 69 cents for every dollar paid to men — amounting to a yearly gap of $14,446. And with nearly 85,500 Utah households led by women, the new data show that these gaps harm families and the state economy, according to a report by National Partnership for Women & Families, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.
If the gap between men’s and women’s wages were eliminated, each full-time working woman in Utah could afford to pay for groceries for an additional 2.1 years, buy 3,890 more gallons of gas, pay mortgages and utilities for 10 more months, pay rent for 18 more months or purchase family health insurance premiums for 4.1 more years.
These necessities would be particularly important for the 28.2 percent of Utah’s women-led households now living below the poverty level.
The analysis ranks Utah 48th among the 50 states in gender-based wage gap. There’s virtually no improvement from last year’s report, which put Utah’s pay gap as the fourth largest in the nation.
The gap in earnings for Utah women isn’t all that surprising, considering their troublesome college graduation rates, said Lecia Parks Langston, an economist with the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Utah has the worst disparity in the nation between men and women earning bachelor’s degrees or higher — a difference of 6 percentage points. The Utah education gap more than doubles that of the next closest state, Idaho, at 2.4 percentage points, while the national average is 0.6 points. Salt Lake Tribune