Advocates push to close the gender wage gap

Lauren Bale talks about Equal Pay Day.

NEW ORLEANS -- Louisiana has one of the largest gender wage gaps in the country, for Equal Wage Day Tuesday, working women and local law makers met to try to close the gap by empowering women to ask for more.

Advocate groups say many times, women don’t ask to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

"Say ‘Hey look this is what it's worth, I've done my research, this is why I should get this amount’ and you have to not be afraid to say it," event organizer Amy Landry said.

Failing to negotiate is an issue Landry has seen firsthand.

"I was a former HR director and I personally had salary negotiations experiences with applicants that would come in and it really was the men who would play hardball,” Landry said.

Other reasons for the pay gap include discrimination and business practices, something law makers are trying to change.

"My legislation would prohibit any type of policies that say an employee cannot discuss their wages with another employee, it helps employees to know where they are,” State Representative Helena Moreno said. Moreno is running for the New Orleans City Council-At-Large. "The more we educate ourselves the more we can advance this particular cause to narrow the gender pay gap."

Through strategizing and empowerment, the organizers of the event hope to inspire women to ask for the salaries they deserve.

"Ask for it, do it, put it out there and make it happen,” Landry said.

Here are some facts about the gender wage gap:

-Nationally. white women make 80 cents for every dollar men make, black women make 63 cents and Latinas make just 54 cents to the dollar.
-In Louisiana, women make just 68 cents for every dollar men make, amounting to a yearly gap of $15,898. Louisiana women lose a combined total of more than 15 billion dollars every year- money that could strengthen the state economy.
-276,000 Louisiana households are headed by women.
-It took women nationally three months this year to make as much as men made last year doing the same jobs.

Nationally, the median salary for a man is more than $51,000, whereas women's median income is less than $41,000.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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