Full-time and salaried women in New Jersey have a median income of $929 a week, or 81.6 percent of the $1,138 their male counterparts earn, according to a new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
New Jersey’s percentage is on par with the national pay disparity of 81.8 percent.
New Jersey was among five states where women earned a median income of about $875 per week, accompanied by Alaska, Connecticut, Maryland, and Massachusetts, with the latter having the highest median female income at $971.
“One of the main explanations for the wage gap in the U.S. is women having children – it’s called the ‘mommy tax,’” explained Yana Rodgers, faculty director for the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers.
“It’s reflected in a number of determinants for the gap, including women taking on tracked positions not in the high-wage track with a little more flexibility, and [paying] for it in lower-wage jobs.
“Some women leave the labor market and come back to lower-wage jobs. There may be a bit of discrimination as well, but there’s quite a bit of literature to say that the main cause of the wage gap is the mommy tax.”
That explanation addresses the problem but not the solution, said Rodgers. The solution is policy that supports working families, support for child care and an increase in the minimum wage.
“A minimum wage [increase] disproportionately benefits women over men because there are more women who are either at or below minimum wage compared to men,” said Rodgers. “When it increases, it impacts more women compared to men and the wage gap shrinks.”