To talk about income inequality in 2015 is largely to talk about women. In California – as in all but four other states – women account for the majority of workers making minimum wage.
About 2 out of 3 of those female low-earners support families, either wholly or partly. Four in 10 are the struggling sole breadwinners in their households. Women and their children constitute the majority of Californians living in poverty.
The disparity continues all the way up the pay scale. At hospitals and office parks, in Hollywood and Silicon Valley, women still earn less than men for reasons that simply don’t add up.
Oh, gains have been made. Women working full time now earn a median of 84 cents for every dollar earned by men in California. That’s up from the 59 cents women earned back in the early 1960s, when pay equity became a national issue.
But as any kid with a lemonade stand can tell you, 84 cents just isn’t a dollar. And some women don’t even earn that. Latinas, a huge segment of this state’s population, get less than 44 cents for every 100 pennies in a white male worker’s paycheck. Collectively, the amount of money that California women miss out on because of the wage gap totals an estimated $33 billion a year.