Glass Ceiling in Idaho Leads to Serious Wage Gap in Governor’s Cabinet

Think Progress reported on March 21 that the Idaho governor is paying the female employees less than their male counterparts. In fact, the median wage for women employees is $20,000 less than men’s wages. The highest paid full-time female employee, state Agriculture Department Director Celia Gould, makes almost $40,000 less than Commerce Director Jeffrey Sayer despite the fact that Gould has worked with the governor for four year longer than Sayer.

Think Progress reports that while the pay gap between Otter’s male and female employees is substantial — the women make roughly 82 cents for every dollar earned by men — it isn’t as large as the overall pay gap between men and women in America. American women make about 77 percent of what men make, and the gap is even larger for minorities. In 2010, black women made 67.7 percent of all male earnings, while Latino women made just 58.7 percent. That wage gap costs women huge sums of money — a woman with a college degree, for instance, will earn $723,000 less over a 40-year career.

Despite legislative efforts, the gap isn’t closing. President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which made it easier for women to sue for pay discrimination, in 2009. Senate Republican, however, blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have updated the Equal Pay Act, closed many of its loopholes, and strengthened incentives to reduce pay discrimination, earlier this year.

What effect will the economy have on the gender wage gap? What, if any, effect will the 2012 presidential election have? As the political and economic landscapes change, the wage gap will hopefully change with it. However, as usual, only time will tell if that hope will come true.

View the original Think Progress article by Travis Waldron here.