From 24/7 Wall St.: March is Women’s History Month, and March 8th is International Women’s Day. First observed in the U.S. on February 28, 1909, the day has come to symbolize women’s struggles for equal rights. While it’s been nearly a century since women across the country won the right to vote and the right to work alongside men, equal pay continues to remain a distant goal.
Since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the salaries women earn compared to those of men has improved, albeit slowly. In 1963, women who worked full-time, year-round earned 58.9 percent of what men did in similar jobs with similar hours. Today, women make 77.4 percent of a man’s salary, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Although pay inequality remains a problem across the country, the difference is not the same everywhere. In Los Angeles, the disparity is not nearly as bad, and women make nearly 90 percent of what men do. In Baton Rouge, the figure is closer to 63 percent. Based on an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau’s compensation data, 24/7 Wall St. calculated women’s compensation compared to that of men’s and identified the cities where the wage gap is the worst.
Unequal salary for women happens in rich and poor cities alike. In the Bridgeport, CT and San Jose, CA metropolitan areas, household median incomes are among the highest in the country. Despite this, women earn less than 74 percent of what men earn in these areas, putting both cities among the 15 worst out of the 100 largest metropolitan areas. In other metropolitan areas, including Chattanooga, TN and Augusta-Richmond County, GA, the median income is well-below the national average. Women who work there also earn far less than men.
An analysis by 24/7 Wall St. reveals that what these areas do have in common is a concentration of industries notorious for their large pay gap between men an women. Last year, in a separate analysis, 24/7 Wall St. identified the industries that have the greatest pay disparity between the sexes. According to this research, in some industries, women make as little as two-thirds of what men do, despite performing the same job. Sectors such as manufacturing of durable and nondurable goods and health care are among the worst at paying women the same as men. Other industries that pay women the worst include finance and utilities.
To identify the cities that pay women the least, 24/7 Wall St. compared the median incomes for the past 12 months of both men and women who worked full-time, year-round in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, based on data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. Information on the most unequal industries was calculated using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Labor, the Census Bureau, as well as Catalyst, the leading nonprofit organization for expanding women in business, and The Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
These are the worst-paying cities for women, according to 24/7 Wall St.: