Data shows unequal wages hurting women


An analysis recently released for Equal Pay Day shows just how much the gender-based wage gap is costing Hawaii women and their families. Women who are employed full time in Hawaii are paid just 83 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap in wages of $7,708. That means that Hawaii women lose a combined total of more than $1.5 billion every year — money that could strengthen the state economy and provide critical support to the nearly 57,000 Hawaii households headed by women.

The analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. Hawaii has the 44th largest cents-on-the-dollar gap among all states. The full report can be viewed at nationalpartnership.org/gap.

“Unfair wages cause real and lasting harm to women, the families they support, and to our economy. With women making up nearly half the workforce and serving as essential breadwinners in two-thirds of households, it’s time to finally put ‘Mad Men’-era wage policies in the past,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “As this analysis shows, when women and their families lose thousands of dollars in critical income each year, they have significantly less money to spend on food, gas, rent and other basic necessities, and the consequences for their families and our state and national economies can be devastating.”

According to the analysis, if the gap between men’s and women’s wages were eliminated, each full-time working woman in Hawaii could afford to pay for food for 1.1 more years, pay mortgage and utilities for three more months, pay rent for six more months, or buy 1,800-plus more gallons of gas. These basic necessities would be especially important for the 22 percent of Hawaii’s women-headed households currently living below the poverty level.