It’s Equal Pay Day, and Oregon women still get paid less

Chuck Sheketoff

Today is Equal Pay Day. And today, Oregon women are still not getting equal pay for equal work.

For every dollar that an Oregon man earns, an Oregon woman usually earns just 82 cents, the Oregon Center for Public Policy explained in a paper released yesterday. The Center’s paper notes that the gender pay gap is most severe for women of color, and it exists regardless of education levels.

In part, the gender pay gap reflects the reality that women still do most of the work of raising children, caring for elderly parents and tending to sick family members. This makes it harder for women — especially low-income women — to enter and stay in the labor force, which can result in lower seniority and work experience and limit their ability to save for retirement.

Another factor contributing to the gender pay gap is that men hold most of the jobs in some of the highest paying lines of work. And while women are more likely to hold positions in Oregon’s two highest-paying occupations — health diagnosing and treating and legal occupations — those women face the most severe earnings gaps in the Oregon labor market.

And employers engage in gender discrimination. Some of the gender pay gap simply cannot be explained by anything other than employers paying women less because they are women.

Oregon lawmakers can level the playing field by investing in affordable, quality child care; requiring paid family leave for all workers; strengthening fair pay standards; and ensuring that workers can count on predictable work schedules.

The well-being of families and simple fairness call out for lawmakers to close the gender pay gap.

Read Women Still Paid Less Than Men: Oregon’s Gender Pay Gap and discuss here.

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at

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