A National Partnership For Women & Families
survey has found that Maryland women earn anywhere from 1 percent to 24 percent less than their male counterparts in every congressional district.
Around the state, full-time working women are paid on average 14 percent less than men. In District 7 and District 3, Baltimore City's two major districts, the numbers are 15 percent and 14 percent respectively, according to the Washington, D.C., nonprofit.
Nationally, there is a 23 percent gender wage gap, with congressional districts in Louisiana, Utah and Illinois showing the greatest disparity.
The Partnership called its analysis of latest US Census wage data by congressional district “unprecedented” and “the first such study,” says Beccah Golubock Watson, the Partnership's policy counsel, noting that of the country's 435 districts, 423, or 97 percent, have wage gender gaps.
The survey did not compare gender wage differences by industry. However, numerous other studies have compared women and men in the same industries and came up with gender wage gaps as well, says Watson. She cited a nationwide study of the financial industry that found women are paid 68 cents for every $1 paid to men.
Maryland's Congressional District 3 covers parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties and part of Baltimore City on the northern and southern edges. Maryland's 7th
District encompasess most of Baltimore City's neighborhoods, including downtown, midtown cultural district, Mt.Vernon, Charles Village, Belair-Edison, Coldspring, Pimlico, Sandtown, Montebello and Remington, as well as parts of Baltimore and Howard counties. In the 7th District, the wage gender gap means that women are paid $8,102 less per year than men. Given the city's 40 percent poverty rate and the fact that over 40 percent of households are headed by women, that represents a significant loss in earnings, Watson says.
Maureen O'Connor, spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, says that the department conducts employer surveys for wage data by occupation, but not for wage demographics.
Likewise, Janine DiPaula Stevens, president of the Baltimore Regional Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, says its organization does not have gender wage data. Stevens is also CEO of Baltimore back-office resource center Vircity.
The survey's release is timed to coincide with Congress' possible consideration of the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill would protect against retaliation for discussing salaries with colleagues and removing obstacles for employees to participate in class action lawsuits.
“The wage gap is taking a toll on women in nearly every corner of the country,” says Watson. “Unfortunately, Baltimore is not immune to this devastating issue.”
District 4, which includes parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties, showed the least diparity with women earning 1 percent less than men. District 1, which includes Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset and parts of Harford, Baltimore and Carroll counties, showed the greatest gap, with women earning 24 percent less.
Sources: Beccah Golubock Watson, National Partnership for Women & Families; Maureen O'Connor, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation; Janine DiPaula Stevens, Baltimore Regional Chapter, National Association of Women Business Owners
Writer: Barbara Pash