On 21st Anniversary of Equal Pay Day, Wage Gap Continues to Impact Wisconsin Women and Families

April 4, 2017

MADISON – Today marks the 21st anniversary of Equal Pay Day, the day this year when women’s pay finally catches up to what men were paid last year alone, due to the ongoing wage gap between men and women.

“We join others in recognizing today as Equal Pay Day in the United States, but sadly, that recognition is premature in Wisconsin where women are paid less than the national average. It is shameful that women are not compensated with equal pay for equal work,” said Rep. Lisa Subeck (D – Madison). “More women than ever before are their families’ primary breadwinners, and the earnings gap between men and women adds to the challenges Wisconsin families face to achieving economic security.”

Equal Pay Day is determined through examination of data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Based on the data, women nationwide earn just 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. The gap is even larger in Wisconsin, where women earn just 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man.  African American and Latina women fare worse yet, with African American women earning just 62 cents and Latina women earning just 53 cents on the dollar relative to white men.

Wisconsin is just one of six states in the nation, and the only state in the Midwest, without a law on the books enforcing a ban on wage discrimination. Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which was enacted in 2009 by Wisconsin Democrats, was repealed by Governor Walker and Republicans in 2012.  The five other states that do not guarantee women equal pay for equal work include Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Utah.

“Republicans have spent the last 6 years driving down wages for all of Wisconsin’s working families, making their continued opposition to ensuring women doing the same work as men earn as much as their male counterparts especially disturbing,” said Rep. Subeck. “It is time to raise wages and build a fairer economy for all Wisconsinites. It is also time to restore Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act, as women make up more than half of our state’s population. After all, the Wisconsin way forward to economic prosperity depends upon the economic success of our working women and their families.”