Why is the gender pay gap not closing?

Feb 23, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: 6:04 pm

pay gap...

FILE: 3 out of 5 money lenders face negative consequences. (Stock image, Canva)

(Stock image, Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — During the past two decades, the gender pay gap in the U.S. and Utah has stayed stubbornly stuck. A Utah financial planner said he’s surprised by that fact.

In 2022, women earned an average of 82% of what men earned. That statistic comes from a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers. These results are similar to where the pay gap stood in 2002. That year, women earned 80% as much as men, according to Pew Research Center.

“I’m also, frankly, a little surprised that here we are in 2024 and this hasn’t gotten a lot better. I’m really surprised that’s still going on,” said DMBA Certified Financial Planner Shane Stewart.

Right around the corner is Equal Pay Day on March 14. Equal Pay Day is intended to highlight how many days into the new year women must work to earn the same amount that men earned the previous year.

Utah ranks third from bottom

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for full-time and salaried workers in 2020, women in Utah earned 73 cents for every dollar a man earned. Only Wyoming and Louisiana had larger pay gaps, according to US News.

Nationwide, the median earnings of women working full-time in 2021 were $49,532 while men’s were $60,775. That’s a difference of $11,243, according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey.

The median income for Utah women is $16,562 less than men. But pay in Salt Lake City is more equitable than statewide. Men earn 23% more than women — a median wage gap of $11,160 as reported by Axios in 2023.

Lodge complaint with state

KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas told KSL NewsRadio about the remedies through the courts available to women workers unfairly underpaid.

If you find out a co-worker is earning more than you are for the same duties, the same work experience and education, contact the state of Utah, Skordas advised.

If that pay gap between co-equals is based on gender or race, ” I would go to the Department of Labor (or) to Department of Workforce Services and file a complaint and have them do an investigation … No employer wants to be subject to an investigation by a state agency in terms of what their doing with respect to their wages and the way they’re treating their employees,” Skordas said.

He added that if you fear retribution from your current employer, file the complaint anonymously.

Over a career, how much money is lost to a pay gap?

The gender pay gap over the course of a career impacts an individual female worker’s retirement but also spouses and families.

How might a woman worker use the $10,000 she is now losing to the gender pay gap?

“If you’re a woman, and if an average rent in the state of Utah is right now about $1,800 a month, well, there’s half your rent [for the year],” Stewart said.

Related: March 14 is Equal Pay Day. What does that mean?

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play. 

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Why is the gender pay gap not closing?