Editor’s Note: This blog was submitted by Vision 2020 Delegate Yvonne Wood, Chair of the Tennessee Economic Council on Women.
Equal Pay Day has been set for April 9 by President Obama and the National Committee on Pay Equity to bring attention to wage discrimination and other factors that contribute to a gap in wage between genders. The Tennessee Economic Council reports the following in preparation for the day of awareness:
• In 2010, women made up 51 percent of Tennessee’s population and 47 percent of its workforce while earning just 77 percent of what Tennessee men brought in annually, at the median.1,2
• Several studies, including the Economic Council’s own Wage Gap report, have shown that this gap begins as soon as women graduate and persists in nearly every sector. What’s more, the gap is shown to increase as workers grow older and advance in their careers.
• 63.9 percent of women are either primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in their home.3
• Women are more likely than men to spend their wages on household purchases, childcare, and other various needs for everyday life.4
• Tennessee women are disproportionately represented in lower earning career fields–such as food service, health care, social services and education—and earn less than male counterparts in these fields as well.2
• Only 36 percent of the managerial occupations in Tennessee are filled by female candidates.1
“The wage gap stifles a woman’s ability to meet the needs of herself and those in her household,” says TECW Director Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, “but that’s only one part of it. We also find that women continue to be obstructed in their career paths, and are choosing or being steered into a diminished role in the workplace. This affects the entire state because women are improving stock values and decision-making where they are able to pry their way into the board room. We are missing out on the ingenuity and diversity that a female perspective can add.”
“We have had some successes, but we have a great deal more work to do,” adds TECW Chair Yvonne Wood. “Wearing red on Equal Pay Day, learning more about the wage gap, or attending a local rally are ways to help close this gap.”