Seattle area ranks the worst for gender-based wage gap

Apr 9, 2013

The Seattle area has a dubious distinction – the biggest wage gap between men and women of any major metropolitan area in the country.

April 9th is Equal Pay Day and a number of studies have come out highlighting the wage gap. One study says the average woman in the Seattle area makes 73 cents for every dollar the average man makes – the worst wage gap out of the 50 biggest metro areas in the country.

African-American and Hispanic women here make even less in part because of the kind of jobs they end up doing - often jobs that pay minimum wage or less.

Fatima Goss Graves is with the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, DC. She says there are other factors contributing to the wage gap. Women still face discrimination when they try to enter fields dominated by men – things like tech, engineering or manufacturing.

Graves says the only way discrimination is going to go away is if more women get a chance to prove themselves in those jobs.

"One of the best ways to refute a stereotype is to be around a lot of people who defeat the stereotype," Graves said.

She says that means tech companies have to try harder to recruit women, especially minorities. She says she’s hopeful Congress this year will pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to help women fight wage discrimination.