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Utah Ties for Lowest Ranking in U.S. for Women's Pay

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Utah women are reportedly paid the lowest in the nation compared to their male counterparts. That’s according to rankingsby the advocacy group American Association of University Women. The organization says in 2016, Utah tied with Louisiana for largest gender pay gap in the U.S., at 70 percent of men’s earnings. That’s 10 cents below the national average.


In Colorado, the wage gap is smaller. Women reportedly earn an average of 84 percent of men, ranking 6th in the nation. In New Mexico and Arizona, they earn 82 percent, ranking 16th and 19th respectively.


The studyanalyzed census and employment data from various Federal agencies to come to its conclusions. Though the study said pay gaps occur in every occupation, they gave various explanations, such as gender-based discrimination, employers’ pressures on mothers who work outside the home, and a disproportionate representation of women in lower-paying occupations such as education, administrative work, and health care. It suggests that employers improve monitoring of gender pay differences among their personnel, and that governments better enforce pay equity legislation.


A U.S. court recently ruled against employers using past earnings to set women’s salaries. A bill was also introduced at the Colorado State Capitol on Tuesday to prohibit such practices.

Austin Cope is a former Morning Edition host for KSJD and now produces work on a freelance basis for the station. He grew up in Cortez and hosted a show on KSJD when he was 10 years old. After graduating from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 2010, he lived in Belgium, Ohio, Spain, northern Wyoming, and Himachal Pradesh, India before returning to the Cortez area. He has a degree in Politics from Oberlin College in Ohio.