Isle women shorted 20% of men's pay


POSTED: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hawaii's pay equity remains better than the U.S. average; however, that's small compensation for women who make on average 17 to 20 cents per dollar less than men in comparable jobs.

College-educated women in Hawaii earn 83 percent as much as isle men, according to a state-by-state earnings comparison released yesterday by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Working women without college degrees earn 80 percent as much as men, AAUW said.

Gender inequity in Hawaii robs working women of more than $9,000 a year in annual compensation, the association said. Nationally, women earn 78 percent as much as men, and the disparity is even greater for minorities, AAUW said.

The disparity means that today is “;Equal Pay Day,”; the symbolic day when women's wages catch up to men's wages from the previous year, said Sharon Ferguson-Quick, executive director of the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women.

“;Nationally, the wage only went up one penny this year, so the gap is not narrowing quickly,”; Ferguson-Quick said.

While Hawaii ranks well against other states, Ferguson-Quick said that it's not good enough for the isles' working women.

“;The disparity has a financial impact on women and their families,”; she said. “;What would an extra 20 percent mean to their lifestyle, their families and their retirement?”;

And, in reality, Hawaii's results might be worse than what the AAUW shows, said Kathryn Xian, executive director of Girl Fest Hawaii.




Gender wage gap

        Despite strides, working women in Hawaii still earn less than men. The lower the state ranking, the smaller the discrepancy between wages.

Female college graduates, 25 and up


» Median annual earnings for women, $49,000


» Median annual earnings for men, $58,700


» Percent difference, 83 percent


» State ranking in U.S.: No. 2


All Working Women, 16 and up


» Median annual earnings for women $35,400


» Median annual earnings for men $44,500


» Percent difference: 80 percent


» State ranking in U.S.: No. 12


Source: American Association of University Women