Treasurer Lynn Fitch released the following statement on the
gender pay gap in Mississippi today:
“There is not a single study that says there is no gender pay
gap. There are no studies to say that
wage discrimination laws are obsolete.
“To the contrary, every study done shows that women still struggle
to close the pay gap. There are studies
to show that women suffer subtle discrimination that quietly influences
employers’ pay decisions. There are
studies to show that mothers suffer a 4% penalty in their pay per child. There are studies to show that we still have
far to go in encouraging girls to pursue careers as doctors, not just nurses
and executives, not just employees. And,
of course, there is case law to show that there is still very palpable
discrimination against women in the workplace, too.
“And, it is because of these studies and this body of collected
law that 48 states in the nation have taken action to pass wage discrimination
laws. That is 48 states that have said
having a federal Equal Pay Act is not enough for their women.
“But, not Mississippi. With
the highest percentage of women living in poverty, with the 49th highest
women’s unemployment rate, and with a gender pay gap of 27%, Mississippi isn’t even
talking about the issue.
“There are those who say Mississippi women have been an
afterthought in this session. Seven pay
equity bills died in committee. With the
highest rate of cervical cancer death in the nation, a bill to encourage annual
pap smears died in committee. Even as
one of only two states in the nation without a no-fault divorce grounds, a bill
to permit divorce based on long-term separation died in committee. Permitting divorce for domestic abuse almost
suffered the same fate. But women stood
up and in the face of public outcry, that still stands a chance to become law.
“It’s time to show Mississippi women that they are a valued part
of our community. Mississippi was the
very last state to ratify the women’s right to vote – in 1984. We shouldn’t be the very last state to take
steps to close the pay gap.”