The U.S. Census Bureau recently released their 2017 data and what it tells us is not hopeful in the fight towards equal pay. Since 2016 the gender wage gap has not improved at all and on average women are still making only 80 cents to the white male dollar. When race is taken into consideration, women of color face even higher wage gaps which have actually increased since last year. Look at the fact sheet here for all the updated numbers.
CLUW has been supporting Equal Pay Days since the initiative began but the dates women have to work until to make the same as men in the previous year have been stagnant in the past two years. This is not encouraging and Congress needs to refocus their efforts on passing legislation that will actually make a difference in getting women the pay we deserve. We need to push congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, stronger paid leave laws, national paid sick days, and more which can actually move us forward.
Another major issue highlighted by the census data has been access to health insurance. According to analysis by the National Partnership for Women & Families, the data reveals that nearly 20 percent of Latinas and 13.7 percent of Black women remain uninsured. For Asian women that number is 8.9 percent and 8 percent of white women are also uninsured. This leaves over 13 million women without health insurance. The National Partnership’s analysis of the health insurance coverage data is available here.
These troubling disparities seriously impact the care that is available to women and families and action needs to be taken. Millions of women have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act but consistent efforts to chip away at its reach and functionality harm women greatly. We need to improve the health care systems we have and expand coverage not restrict it.
The information the Census Bureau provides is dismal, but it is necessary to know and we have to utilize it fully to create change. If gender pay gaps and health care don’t become a national focus the numbers will continue to stagnate and women will continue to suffer. Strong legislative action needs to be taken and we can’t back down on these issues until the numbers truly reflect the society we want to create.