Equal pay doesn't add up

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By Carol A. Clark

It’s been 45 years since the Equal Pay Act became law and yet in New Mexico, women earn $9,000 less on average than men. Furthermore, New Mexico also has more women living in poverty than any other state in America, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The Institute also finds the median annual income for full-time employed women is $25,600, compared to $34,300 for men and the 2005 U.S. Census Bureau shows on average, a woman working in America earns $.77 to every $1 made by a man.

Gender-pay inequality adds extra burden on New Mexico working families and on the public because many women who work fulltime still cannot earn enough to support their families, according to an April 2008 analysis from the Southwest Women’s Law Center.

The analysis found that more than half of the women who work fulltime and year-round in 29 of New Mexico’s 33 counties earn so little, they actually qualify for food stamps and child-care assistance for a family of four.

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