Pay Equity and the Wage Gap: Success in the States

January 1, 1995
  • ID: #C333

By 1989, twenty states had implemented programs to raise the wages of workers in female-dominated jobs in their state civil services. According to a joint Institute for Women’s Policy Research and Urban Institute study, of the fourteen states for which information was available, all succeeded in increasing the female/male wage ratio in their civil service. Statistical analysis of wages and employment in three states indicates that these adjustments were implemented without substantial negative side effects such as increased unemployment. These findings suggest that pay equity is an effective means of raising women’s wages to levels that reduce the impact of discrimination or devaluation. This fact sheet answers many common questions about the wage gap and pay equity based on findings from this study. The data analyzed in the study were collected over a four-year period from the relevant state agencies.