Equal pay study: Colorado women’s wage gap at $10,107 annually

Women in Colorado make about 80 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly gap in wages of $10,107, according to a study released this week by the National Partnership for Women and Families.

The report was released just before the national Equal Pay Day, which symbolizes how far into the year women must work to make the same amount that men made in the previous calendar year.

Colorado has the 36th largest cents-on-the-dollar gap in the country, according to the study, and the wage gap results in the loss of a combined total of nearly $7.5 billion every year.

The survey also showed that Latinas in Colorado are paid 53 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in the state.

“Unfair wages cause real and lasting harm to women, the families they support, and to our economy,´ said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families in a statement. “With women making up nearly half the workforce and serving as essential breadwinners in two-thirds of households, it’s time to finally put ‘Mad Men’-era wage policies in the past.”

According to the study, if the gap between men’s and women’s wages were eliminated, each woman working full time in Colorado could afford to pay for food for 1.4 more years, pay mortgage and utilities for seven more months, pay rent for 11 more months or buy 2,800 more gallons of gas.

But in Northern Colorado and the Boulder Valley and in executive positions, the disparity is smaller or even nonexistent, according to Ann Clarke, consultant and creator of Loveland-based Colorado Women of Influence, an organization for executive women.

According to Clarke, education disparities are more to blame for wage gaps than gender.

For example, more women tend to be hired as executive assistants than men, something that can allow for good pay and promotion in a company, if the employee has the necessary skills.

“If they have the skills, they can make the money,” Clarke said of women in these types of roles. “Without skills, you can get stuck in a low-paying job.”

Wages tend to be higher in this region, and there is great support for entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, Clarke said.

“Northern Colorado is a great place for a woman to be in business,” she said. “She has a huge cadre of other women to support her.”

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Molly Armbrister covers real estate, banking and health care for the Northern Colorado Business Report. She can be reached at 970-232-3139, marmbrister@ncbr.com or twitter.com/MArmbristerNCBR

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