Iowa Ranks in Bottom Half When it Comes to Paying Women Equal to Men

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Performing the same job for the same pay seems simple.  "It is a little ridiculous that it still takes this long for equal pay," said Eli Goll, vice chair of Iowa Women in Architecture.

No matter the profession, for women in the workplace it is an uphill battle.

"Whether it is intentional or unintentional, statistics still show that women in every profession are much more at a disadvantage than men when it comes to promotions and raises," said Jennifer Zwagerman, associate director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University.

Zwagerman discussed the gender pay gap to a large group at Peace Tree Brewing in Des Moines.  She said, "We are still over a century away if we proceed at the pace we are doing it now, before we would reach pay equality.  It is even more than that for minority groups."

Those stats may seem staggering, but Zwagerman says there are ways to navigate the hurdles when trying to earn the money women rightfully deserve, starting with research.  She said, "What is the average salary for this type of position? Not just in your location but more broadly.  What is your reason you are worth more than what you are getting and you need to have evidence and be able to back that up."

Not knowing your worth can even impact your retirement.  Zwagerman said, "If you start lower and you have retirement funds that take a percentage of your income, well then your retirement funds are disadvantaged."

It is a disadvantage that Goll hopes the discussion can empower women into overcoming.  "Through education and awareness, we are raising each other up to hold employers and employees accountable," said Goll.

According to the American Association of University Women, Iowa women make 79 cents to every dollar a man makes.  It puts "The Hawkeye State," in the lower half of gender pay equality at 31st in the country.  "If we don't start to address and advocate for it now, it is not going to get better for the future of our industries," Goll said.

The event was put on by the Polk County Women Attorneys and Iowa Women of Architecture.  Utah ranks 50th in the country, where women earn 71 cents to every dollar a man makes.  California leads all states with women earning 89 cents for every dollar a man makes.

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