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Monday, October 1, 2012

Yes, Women Make Less Money Than Men—Even in Portland, Even Without Kids

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 3:59 PM

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Unless you're a Republican strategist, you understand the sad reality that women in this country make less money than men.

There are a bunch of reasons for this, none of which make me feel any better about the world. There's taking time off to raise kids, there's entering fields that pay less, there's being offered lower starting salaries, there's being less likely to be promoted. Wonderful, wonderful things.

A new report out from the National Partnership for Women and Families puts a financial figure on the amount women are losing out on every year in each state. In Portland's congressional district, women make 85 cents for every dollar men take home. That's better than the rest of the state and better than the national average (which is 77 cents). But, uh, still not good.

Then along comes the New York Times this weekend with the super smart editorial, The Myth of Male Decline. The piece is a response to the recent spate of post-sexist-society books like The End of Men. Here is the key chart from the story. Even women in their twenties who have no kids make less than men who hold their same level of education.

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We're not just paid less because we take off time from career work to have families. We're paid less because people in charge of cutting paychecks systematically believe they can pay us less.

The article also gets major kudos for pointing out that it's not just women who are hurt by gender bias: Men are also stigmatized in ways that affect them financially. Men who engage in traditionally female activities like taking time off from work for family reasons are viewed as "weak" and end up earning less money, saying the piece.

As it happens, the Oregon Council on Civil Rights is holding a forum tomorrow (pdf), hoping to hear stories from people—regardless of gender—who've experienced wage discrimination in the state. If you've ever been underpaid compared to your coworkers, the state wants to hear from you. The forum is at 3645 SE 32nd Avenue from 5:30 to 7:30 tomorrow night, so go give 'em your 15 cents worth.

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