Last modified: Monday, October 18, 2004
IU professors to testify Tuesday on wage gaps in Indiana
State ranks in lowest quartile in ratio of female to male pay
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- There continues to be a large wage equity gap in Indiana between men and women, and between minorities and non-minorities in the same jobs, and in jobs that require the same degree of skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions, according to three Indiana University faculty members.
Lynn Duggan, associate professor of labor studies; Michael Nicholson, visiting associate professor of labor studies; and Carol Rogers, associate director of the Indiana Business Research Center, will testify Tuesday (Oct. 19) about these differences for working Hoosiers before the state's Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy. The hearing on wage equity in Indiana will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 404 of the Indiana State House in Indianapolis.
Federal and state laws ban discrimination in employment and pay, but current population survey data show Indiana today as ranking 37th in the nation in the size of the gender pay gap, or the ratio of male to female pay in full-time year-round employment, according to Duggan, who also is an economist. Based on the 2003 American Community Survey, Hoosier women in full-time, year-round jobs earn only 68 percent of men's pay, while women in the United States as a whole earn an average of 75 percent of men's pay.
2000 census data show that Native-American women in Indiana earned only 55 percent of the wages of white men, while Hispanic women earned 58 percent; African American women, 66 percent; and Asian women, 63 percent.
Two federal laws protect workers against wage discrimination, but neither deals with the fact that many women work in female-dominated occupations in which pay is systematically less. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits unequal pay for equal or "substantially equal" work performed by men and women. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin.
Many Hoosiers are affected by this problem, directly or indirectly. Women make up 46.5 percent of Indiana's labor force. Research by the AFL-CIO showed that the gender gap in wages costs working families $200 billion of income annually. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, the median annual income of single women raising children in Indiana is $22,765.
Duggan and Nicholson will testify on behalf of the Coalition for Wage Equity in Indiana and will propose the creation of an Equal Pay Commission, which would report to the governor through a state agency such as the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.
"Wage discrimination not only harms individual women and people of color, it depresses living standards, contributes to higher poverty rates among female-headed and minority households, prevents the maximum utilization of available labor resources, causes labor disputes that burden commerce, and violates the state's expressed policy against discrimination," Duggan will testify. "Current remedies imposed on employers who practice discrimination in pay between men and women, and between minorities and non-minorities, have proven to be only partially effective in eliminating such wage disparities."
The commission they propose would study the issue and make recommendations, legislative and otherwise, that would eliminate and prevent disparities in wages between men and women, and between minorities and non-minorities. It would include representatives from business, labor and advocacy organizations which seek the end of discrimination. It also would include scholars and researchers who analyze data on pay disparities and whose research has been used to promote their elimination.
The Coalition for Wage Equity in Indiana was formed in 2001 by a group of labor and women's rights advocates in Bloomington. Its goals are to educate state legislators and citizens on the need for wage equity and to lobby for wage equity legislation.
Professor Lynn Duggan can be reached at 812-855-1560 (office), 812-339-3197 (home) or firstname.lastname@example.org. Professor Michael Nicholson can be reached at 317-278-9058 or email@example.com. Carol Rogers can be reached at 317-274-2205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.