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1 Center for American Progress | 7 Actions that Could Shrink the Gender Wage Gap
7 Actions that Could Shrink the Gender Wage Gap
By Sarah Jane Glynn, Milia Fisher, and Emily Baxter September 18, 2014
Te Census Bureau repored his week ha he gender wage gap beween ull-ime, year-round working men and women in 2013 remained virually unchanged, wih women earning 78 percen o wha men earn.
 Te 1 percen increase rom 2012 is no saisi-cally significan, and here has been no real movemen in he gender wage gap since 2007.
 While working women have made grea srides since 1967, when hey earned only 58 percen o wha men earned or ull-ime, year-round work,
 here is sill a long  way o go beore rue pay equiy is achieved. Tis means ha, alhough women are he primary, sole, or co-breadwinners in nearly wo-hirds o amilies,
 dollar or dollar hey coninue o earn, on average, 22 percen less han heir male counerpars, wih Lainas and Arican American women experiencing he sharpes pay dispariies compared o whie men.
 Tere are a number o acors ha conribue o he pay gap, including where women work, differences in hours worked, and educaion differences.
 Bu here is also a porion o he pay gap ha is unexplained; researchers have esimaed ha as much as 10 percen o 40 percen o he gender wage gap canno be explained even when aking ino accoun gendered differences beween he occupaions, educaions, and work hisories o men and women.
 Closing he gap will require muliaceed soluions ha ogeher help ensure ha he  work women perorm is valued airly, ha women are no penalized unairly or heir caregiving responsibiliies, and ha here is greaer ransparency in workplace pay prac-ices. Here are seven seps we can ake ha could make a difference.
1. Raise the minimum wage
 Women make up a disproporionae share o low-wage workers, and esimaes show ha differences beween women’s and men’s occupaions could accoun or nearly one-hal o he gender wage gap.
 Raising he minimum wage will help hardworking women  beter suppor heir amilies. While nearly wo-hirds o mohers are breadwinners or co-breadwinners or heir amilies,
 women made up approximaely wo-hirds o all minimum-wage workers in 2012.
 Te curren ederal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour,
2 Center for American Progress | 7 Actions that Could Shrink the Gender Wage Gap
 which means someone working ull ime, year round earns only $15,080 a year. Ta is  below he povery hreshold or any amily wih children and no ar above he povery line or a single person.
 Increasing he ederal minimum wage o $10.10 an hour would  boos wages or abou 15 million women and help close he gender wage gap.
2. Raise the tipped minimum wage
Te gender wage gap is paricularly prominen among ipped workers. Te ederal ipped minimum wage, which hasn’ been changed since 1991, only pays workers $2.13 per hour.
 According o he Economic Policy Insiue, women make up wo-hirds o ipped workers and are 70 percen o ood servers and barenders, occupaions ha comprise more han hal o he ipped workorce.
 ipped workers have a higher povery rae han non-ipped workers, and 46 percen rely on governmen assisance o make ends mee.
  As he burden o ipped-wage povery alls primarily on women and heir amilies, rais-ing he ipped minimum wage could make a real difference in decreasing he gender pay gap. Recen proposals advocae raising he ipped minimum wage o 70 percen o he minimum wage o ensure ha he majoriy o a worker’s income is coming rom his or her employer, insead o rom ips.
3. Support fair scheduling practices
 Women, especially women o color, are more likely o work in low-wage jobs and ofen have rigid, unpredicable schedules ha can change wih litle noice, making i difficul or working parens󲀔especially mohers󲀔o anicipae heir schedules and arrange or child care.
 Tese workers risk losing heir job because hey lack he flexibiliy o aler heir schedules when hey need o ake heir child o he denis or pick up a sick child rom school󲀔asks ha are more likely o all o mohers han ahers. Legislaion has  been passed in Vermon and San Francisco in he pas year ha provides workers wih a “righ o reques,” allowing hem o ask or greaer flexibiliy or scheduling predicabiliy rom heir employer wihou jeopardizing heir job.
 Being able o keep a job is essenial o closing he gender pay gap.
4. Support pay transparency
 When women are no able o discuss heir salaries wih heir colleagues, hey ofen can-no ell when hey are making less han heir male colleagues or doing he same job. Te Paycheck Fairness Ac would reduce pay secrecy, give women beter ools o address pay discriminaion, and make i more difficul or companies o pay male workers more han emale workers󲀔an imporan ool in combating he gender wage gap.
3 Center for American Progress | 7 Actions that Could Shrink the Gender Wage Gap
5. Invest in affordable, high-quality child care and early childhood education
Each day, 11 million children spend ime in he care o someone oher han a par-en.
 Among children under age 6, 65 percen eiher live wih only a single paren who  works or wo parens who boh work.
 For parens o young children, paricularly hose  who are low-income, he lack o affordable, high-qualiy early childhood programs can preven working parens rom ensuring ha heir amilies are cared or while hey ulfill he demands o heir jobs and can inhibi heir long-erm success. Furhermore, child care cosed more han median ren in every sae in 2012, ye access o reliable child care is a requiremen or working parens o mainain employmen.
 Legislaion such as he proposed Srong Sar or America’s Children Ac invess in high-qualiy and susainable early learning environmens or young children, working amilies, and he uure o our counry.
 Invesing in affordable, high-qualiy child care creaes long-lasing srucures ha suppor boh working parens and children, increas-ing women’s abiliy o keep a job, excel in he workorce, and lower he gender wage gap.
6. Pass paid sick days legislation
Everyone ges sick, bu no everyone has ime o ge beter. Almos 40 million U.S.  workers, or abou 40 percen o he privae-secor workorce, do no have access o any paid sick days.
 For par-ime workers, ha figure climbs o 73 percen.
 As a resul, hese employees ofen mus go o work sick, send heir sick children o school, or leave heir sick children a home alone because hey ear hey will be reprimanded or fired or missing work. A 2012 poll ound ha one-hird o parens o young children repor ha hey will experience negaive job consequences i hey have o miss work o say home  wih a sick child.
 Paid sick days would help close he gender wage gap by ensuring ha  women, who mos ofen care or sick amily members, would no lose pay or heir jobs  jus because hey or heir child ell ill.I employees mus ake unpaid leave rom work when hey all ill, he loss o wages can ake a oll. Te srain is mos acuely el by low-income workers, mos o whom are  women; hese workers are also he leas likely group o have access o paid sick days.
 Eleven ciies and wo saes across he counry have recognized ha his is bad or work-ers, bad or business, and bad or public healh and have hus aken he lead in pushing legislaion o guaranee paid sick days or workers hrough acive campaigns and bills a he sae and municipal levels.
 One such bill, he Healhy Families Ac, would creae a naional sandard by allowing workers o earn sick leave regardless o where hey live.