Governor to sign proclamation for Equal Pay Day
by Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal's office – media release
April 18, 2008
(Cheyenne) Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal will sign a proclamation declaring April 22 as Equal Pay Day in Wyoming, recognizing the wage gap between working men and women around the nation.
According to statistics released by the United States Census Bureau, women are paid on average 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts are paid – a gap of 23 cents.
According to the Wyoming Department of Employment, women’s pay in the state is less than half the national average. In 2006, all women whether full or part-time, across all industries were paid 55 cents for every dollar their male counterparts were paid – a gap of 45 cents. Year-round, full-time working women earned only 66 percent of year-round, full-time working men.
In 2006, there were approximately 128,670 women in Wyoming’s workforce; they comprised 36 percent of total workers in the state.
“Pay equity is a growing national movement,” said Teresa de Groh, chairman of the Wyoming Council for Women’s Issues. “States around the country are introducing pay equity legislation and women continue to recognize the importance of this legislation. Pay inequity penalizes families, and this inequity has been enhanced due to the energy boom in the state. We must address it when trying to boost and diversify the economy. At the rate we are going, the gap will not be eliminated until 2040. Women and families cannot afford to wait that long.”
The Council offers businesses and women in Wyoming four options to begin to close the gender wage gap:
- Affirmative action programs should be kept in place to make sure education, jobs and promotion opportunities are open and offered to qualified women.
- Employers should examine and correct their pay practices. Employers can get help in examining their pay practices through equal pay self-audit guidelines from the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Women should stand up for equal pay. Prospective employers should be able to show women and men are being paid equally for jobs. Positive signs include a hiring process that seeks diversity through affirmative action, written pay and benefit policies, job descriptions and evaluation procedures.
- Women should explore opportunities available in what are considered to be “nontraditional” fields, such as construction, truck driving, and science, technology, engineering and math occupations. Many employers in these “nontraditional” areas are searching for workers and are offering family friendly workplace strategies to attract and retain highly-qualified, dedicated workers.
- Women, who are paid less than average, must discuss the problem with their employer. If discrimination persists, file a complaint with the Wyoming Department of Employment, Labor Standards Division or with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The WCWI is a 13-member council with representation from each of the nine Judicial Districts in addition to four at-large members and one ex-officio member from the Wyoming Business Council. The WCWI is a Governor appointed council.