Utah men are avoiding the truth about equal pay

Thursday , August 03, 2017 - 4:30 AM3 comments

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

MEMO TO: 67 percent of Utah men

FROM: 100 percent of Utah women

RE: Wage gap

Gentlemen,

According to a poll, you are badly misinformed. Perhaps willfully so.

Because two-thirds of you believe there’s no wage gap in Utah.

How can so many of you be so spectacularly wrong?

According to a poll by The Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics, 67 percent of Utah men believe women definitely or probably earn as much as their male counterparts, The Trib reported.

Not even close.

Utah women make 71 cents for every dollar earned by men, the National Partnership for Women and Families reported in April — the fourth largest wage gap in the United States.

Median pay for a Utah woman holding a full-time job is $36,060. For a Utah man, it’s $50,741.

Combined, women employed full time lose an average of $7.3 billion annually because of Utah’s wage gap, according to the partnership’s report.

How could Utah men not know that?

At some level, they do. Because they spent decades building the case women don’t deserve equal pay.

James Green explained why in a February letter to the Park Record.

“Traditionally men have earned more than women in the workplace because they are considered the primary breadwinners for families,” wrote Green, vice chairman of the Wasatch County Republican Party. “They need to make enough to support their families and allow the Mother to remain in the home to raise and nurture the children.”

Green quickly resigned from his GOP post, claiming he was only criticizing government attempts to close the wage gap, not belittling women.

Specifically, Green opposed Senate Bill 210, a proposal by conservative Republican Jacob Anderegg authorizing a study on Utah wages, development of criteria for raises, and an index showing what you could expect to earn in any given job.

It died.

In Colorado, women make 81 cents for every dollar earned by men. In Nevada, it’s 84 cents. In Arizona, it’s 83.

Utah built its booming economy by attracting high-tech industry. But those employers won’t stay where they can’t recruit talent. Why would a woman want to work in Utah if she knows it pays her significantly less than a man? Why would she want to work here when the pay gap is significantly smaller in three adjoining states?

Ultimately, why would a business want to move to a state that treats women as second-class citizens?

Utah men can’t afford to continue avoiding the truth about equal pay.

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