Louisiana ranks worst in the country when it comes to pay disparity between women and men, according to the latest report from the American Association of University Women marking Equal Pay Day.
“Women shouldn’t have to work an additional three months to earn the same as a man in a single year. The American workforce isn’t going to stand for it anymore,” Kim Churches, chief executive officer of AAUW, said in a news release. “Let’s make Equal Pay Day a thing of the past.”
On average, women in Louisiana earn 69 cents for every dollar that men make, a pay gap of 68.8 percent.
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According to AAUW’s The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap report, the state is 51st nationally in gender pay equity, based on full-time working women compared to full-time working men.
AAUW also concluded that Louisiana’s existing laws are weak compared to other states’ laws regarding pay equality.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat seeking re-election this year, campaigned four years ago in favor of equal pay legislation, but no new laws have made it through the Louisiana Legislature.
State lawmakers have rejected 28 equal pay bills in the past decade, after facing opposition from some business groups and others who argue that it could encourage frivolous lawsuits. Critics also say statistics on the gender pay gap often don't reflect the differences in skill and job type that can separate men and women in various employment fields that are reflected in pay, making arguments about discriminatory wages moot.
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