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It’s going to take a while for women to get paid as much as men in North Carolina

Audience members listen to speakers during Women’s Equality Day Aug. 25, 2014. Folks gathered at the square uptown to celebrate the 94th anniversary of the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote and to honor the women of Mecklenburg County who made invaluable contributions toward the equality of women in education, entrepreneurship, government, human service, community, politics and religion.
Audience members listen to speakers during Women’s Equality Day Aug. 25, 2014. Folks gathered at the square uptown to celebrate the 94th anniversary of the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote and to honor the women of Mecklenburg County who made invaluable contributions toward the equality of women in education, entrepreneurship, government, human service, community, politics and religion. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

It is going to take another 43 years for women’s average pay in North Carolina to catch up with that of men.

If average earnings of women and men employed full-time, year-round change at the rate they did from 1959-2015, the national gender-wage gap will close in 2059, a year before it closes in North Carolina, according to figures released Wednesday from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a nonprofit Washington think tank.

IWPR’s figures show that a woman on average makes 80 cents for every dollar a man makes.

When IWPR breaks down the wage numbers by race, some women will not experience gender-pay equity for much later down the line: Black women will experience pay equity by 2124, and Latina women will get there by 2248, according to IWPR. White women on average will see pay equity by 2056.

Women in Florida will attain average pay equity in 2038, according to IWPR, while in four states – North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana and Wyoming – women will not see equal pay in the 22nd century.

“A slow crawl toward equal pay is a drag on each state’s economy, not to mention the U.S. economy overall,” said Heidi Hartmann, IWPR president.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the gender-wage gap, including differences in education, experience, occupation/industry and family responsibilities. But even accounting for those factors a gender-wage gap remains, which suggests discrimination may play a role, the White House Council of Economic Advisers wrote in a 2016 report.

In recent years, lawmakers, including former President Barack Obama, have aimed to address the pay gap through updating overtime rules and pushing for a higher minimum wage.

In North Carolina, the minimum wage is the same as the national minimum wage – $7.25 an hour – and has been so since 2009. The state’s House Bill 2, signed into law almost a year ago, prevents cities and counties from increasing their minimum wages.

IWPR’s figures came out about two weeks before Equal Pay Day, April 4.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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