Women’s wages are catching up with those of men in these states…

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Source: Market Watch Personal Finance

Companies in some U.S. states pay women more than others.

On average, women earned about 80% of what men earned in 2016, though in New York and California, it’s closer to 90%, and in Utah and Louisiana, closer to 70%, according to the American Association of University Women, a women’s advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. That 80% average means it would take women about 44 days of extra work a year to earn what men do, according to the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, D.C.

The gender pay gap has closed just 0.9 cents between 2015 and 2016, said Kate Nielson, the state policy analyst at AAUW. States with the smallest gaps were New York, California and Florida, while states with more work to do included Louisiana, Utah and West Virginia, she said.

See: If you want equal pay, move to Iceland

Some states simply don’t have many of the protections in place for women to earn equal pay as men. Alabama and Mississippi have no provisions in place on gender wage equality. Others have been more proactive in their legislation, according to the AAUW.

The wage gap may also be attributed to the types of employees protected for wage equality. Some states may only have provisions in place for public employees, while others may regulate employers with a specific number of employees. The gap can also be attributed to the type of jobs popular with men and women. Women account for about 30% of workers at the nation’s largest tech companies, and men dominate the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Sectors in energy and construction are still male-dominated fields.

Policymakers are beginning to take this issue more seriously, Nielson said. Massachusetts and California both passed strong legislation to combat gender pay biases, and Utah passed a law to address the gender wage gap recently as well, she said. Legislation can help identify companies that offer discriminatory pay, and challenge those employment practices as well as support workplace benefits including family and medical leave and paid sick days, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families, a nonprofit women’s advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

Some states, including Massachusetts, Oregon and Delaware, prohibit companies from basing salary offers on job candidates’ previous salary, which effectively helps to perpetuate a gender wage gap. Women are more likely to be caught in a low-wage spiral: Women graduates earn $9,000 less than their male counterparts on average, even though they have the same education and are coming into the jobs entry-level.

See also: Robin Wright demands equal pay for ‘House of Cards’ — but gender wage gap widens

The gender wage gap may be narrowing, but at the current pace it will take decades for it to close completely. If it improves at the same rate that it did between 1960 and 2016, women won’t be paid the same as men until 2119, the AAUW found.

But 2059 is a generous prediction compared with some other analyses on the gender wage gap. Washington, D.C.-based think tank Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates it will take 65 years (so 2082) for the gender wage gap to fully close in the 13 states with the biggest gaps between women’s and men’s pay. By that estimation, a girl born today wouldn’t see the gap close in her entire working life. The discrepancy affects women, but it also affects their families — three out of four families rely on the mother’s salary.

“There’s enough information in the market for employers to gauge what a fair salary is and provide that based on a skill set and not an arbitrary number of what they were earning before,” Nielson said.

Source: Market Watch Personal Finance