U of M gender studies professor sounds off on pay disparities

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Tuesday is National Equal Pay Day, a day that is set aside to recognize pay disparities between men and women.

March 17 symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work to earn what men made in the previous year.

In Minnesota, women make 81 cents for every dollar that a White man earns, and that pay gap only gets bigger for women of color.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS spoke with Dr. Christina Ewig, who studies gender disparities at the University of Minnesota.

“I think as a state we should definitely be further along because we are known as a state that is usually at the forefront of social policy issues, and this is one that has been for too long unaddressed,” said Ewig.

She adds there are a lot of factors, but one major reason for the gap is the fact the country pays people in women-dominated industries less than male-dominated industries.

For example, a childcare provider makes on average $3 an hour less than a janitor, a job that is typically more male-dominated, even though becoming a janitor usually requires less education.

Ewig says we need to put more value in the fields where women dominate.

This is just one of many solutions, and Ewig says she hopes the day inspires people to take action and make change on a systemic level. She encourages people to contact their legislators and to fight for laws that protect and encourage women in the workforce.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the gender wage gap.