INDIANA NEWS: Pay gap widens according to new report

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (INS) -The wage gap between men and women in Indiana has grown again, and that gap in the Hoosier State is now sixth highest in the nation.

A report called “Wages, Wealth and Poverty” found the difference in pay in the Hoosier State is 26 percent.

Erin Macey, policy analyst for the Indiana Institute for Working Families says financial security for women needs to be at the forefront of conversations at the Statehouse, and policymakers need to find a way to level the playing field. She says women don’t always feel comfortable standing up for themselves in the workplace.

“I think the change can’t just be women, it has to be holistic and it has to be all of us looking at this issue,” she says.

The report found that within Indiana there is considerable variation from county to county, with some showing nearly a 40-percent gap. Black and biracial women make 36 percent less than men do, and the gap between Latinas and all Hoosier men who work full time is 44 percent – a difference of almost $22,000 a year.

Macey says state policymakers can take a number of steps to address wage, wealth and poverty gaps, including strengthening the equal pay law, making accommodations for pregnancy in the workplace and raising the minimum wage.

“We really dug in here,” she adds. “We looked at sources and implications and then made recommendations for policy changes that would benefit women, and in turn would benefit families and communities in Indiana.”

Women are more likely to experience poverty than men. Statewide, more than 15 percent of women had incomes below the poverty line in 2016, while for men the number was below 13 percent. Research also suggests that women have less tucked away for retirement, take longer to pay down debts such as student loans, and are more likely to use higher-cost loan products.