MADISON, Wis. — April 8 is National Equal Pay Day, the day when women’s pay for the previous year equals men’s. Unfortunately for Wisconsin women and their families, instead of taking steps to address this issue Gov. Walker and the Republican controlled legislature repealed the state equal pay law, leaving Wisconsin as one of only five states in the nation without one.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “The difference in men’s and women’s pay is costing our families and hurting our economy. Instead of trying to help, Gov. Walker and the legislature have taken Wisconsin backwards and put us alongside Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi and Utah as the only five states lacking equal pay protections in state law.”
An analysis based on data reported to the U.S. Census Bureau comparing median earnings of men and women working full time found that Wisconsin women earned 78 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. For minority women the gap is even larger — African American women earned 63 cents and Latinas 55 cents on the dollar compared to men.
Besides the repeal of the state equal pay law, Gov. Walker and the Republican controlled legislature have refused action to act on a proposed increase in the state minimum wage. In fact Gov. Walker, a career full time politician who has received a taxpayer funded salary since the age of 25, referred to the proposed wage increase as a “political stunt.” It is estimated that roughly 60% of Wisconsin minimum wage earners are women.
The policies pursued by Walker and his GOP cohorts have, however, moved Wisconsin’s job ranking from 11th best in the nation to 35th.
“Giving free rein and tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations hasn’t worked in the past, and it’s not working today in Wisconsin,” said Ross. “What we need are policies that will help Wisconsin women and their families like restoring the state equal pay law and increasing the minimum wage.”