Officials working to improve pay equity for women: They’re paid 33 percent less than males

2013-12-09T06:00:00Z 2014-07-31T18:23:58Z Officials working to improve pay equity for women: They’re paid 33 percent less than malesBy Renata Birkenbuel - Montana Standard
December 09, 2013 6:00 am  • 

BUTTE – Sheila Hogan, a native of Butte, was raised by a single mother after her father was killed working in the mines.

She came from a family of strong, can-do women.

Now in a state leadership position and co-chairwoman of Gov. Steve Bullock’s Equal Work Task Force, Hogan knows better than anyone that the wage gap between women and men doing the same job must be narrowed.

“It’s really unconscionable that women make 33 percent less than their male counterparts,” said Hogan, state Department of Administration director and a 1975 Butte High School graduate. “Although pay discrimination has been illegal in Montana, it still happens.”

Hogan, along with Pam Bucy, commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry, team-tagged a task force update for a civic-minded Butte-Silver Bow Burros lunch crowd at Butte Country Club earlier this week.

They are on a mission to narrow the wage gap between men and women who work in the same jobs.

Montana women workers still earn only 67 percent of what men are paid in the same job. In annual salaries, for example, that amounts to $19,614 for women compared to men at $29,250 for doing the same duties.

Those numbers persist despite the fact that there 37,454 households in Montana are headed by women, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families. About 33 percent, or 12,173, of those households have incomes that fall below the poverty level.

Still, employers need to accept the fact that some women want to do nontraditional jobs like driving truck or plumbing, said Hogan.

“When there’s more money in that household, it raises that family out of poverty,” Hogan added.

Hogan, executive director of the nonprofit Career Training Institute in Helena for 20 years prior to her state duties, brings special insight and experience into private and public work conditions.

She and the task force aim to study the breadth, causes and consequences of the wage gap by age, sector, education level and location.

Private for-profit workers experience the greatest pay inequity, as full-time women workers earn only 66 percent of what their male counterparts earn.

Bucy said that in state government, 51 percent of employees are women, but most of the highest-paying administrator jobs are held by men.

If the wage gap were eliminated, the National Partnership for Women and Families reports that a working woman in Montana would then have enough money for about 76 more weeks of food (1.5 years’ worth); eight more months of mortgage and utility payments; 16 more months of rent; or 3,145 additional gallons of gas.

The good news is that women are slowly gaining more leadership positions that sometimes come with better pay. Women like Hogan and Bucy comprise 75 percent of Bullock’s personal staff.

Yet, 50 years after President John F. Kennedy signed into law the Equal Pay Act, American women earn, on average, only 77 percent of what their male counterparts earn.

But Hogan and Bucy represent a pocket of women who are gaining ground in the multifaceted issue of pay and work equity.

“We want to show the governor that Montana is ready to close the wage gap,” said Bucy, a Townsend and Helena native married to Butte native Mark Piskolich.

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(3) Comments

  1. LosandfoundT
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    LosandfoundT - December 09, 2013 8:16 pm
    This attitude towards Women doesn't just stop at the =pay issue... The GOP/Tea-party/Republicans have already united as a voice of one proving the Women of this country are Disposable-Citizens:
  2. LosandfoundT
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    LosandfoundT - December 09, 2013 5:28 pm
  3. MaleMatters
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    MaleMatters - December 09, 2013 11:57 am
    Re: "Montana women workers still earn only 67 percent of what men are paid in the same job."

    Let me put it as politely as I can: That is a lie.

    Probably most women's pay-equity advocates think employers are greedy profiteers who'd hire only illegal immigrants for their lower labor cost if they could get away with it. Or move their business to a cheap-labor country to save money. Or replace older workers with younger ones for the same reason. So why do these same advocates think employers would NOT hire only women if, as they say, employers DO get away with paying females at a lower rate than males for the same work?

    Here's one of countless examples showing that some of the most sophisticated women in the country choose to earn less while getting paid at the same rate as their male counterparts:

    “In 2011, 22% of male physicians and 44% of female physicians worked less than full time, up from 7% of men and 29% of women from Cejka’s 2005 survey.” (See also

    A thousand laws won't close that gap.

    In fact, no law yet has closed the gender wage gap — not the 1963 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, not Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, not affirmative action (which has benefited mostly white women, the group most vocal about the wage gap -, not the 1991 amendments to Title VII, not the 1991 Glass Ceiling Commission created by the Civil Rights Act, not the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, not diversity, not the countless state and local laws and regulations, not the thousands of company mentors for women, not the horde of overseers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and not the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is another feel-good bill that turned into another do-nothing law (good intentions do not necessarily make things better; sometimes, the path to a worse condition is paved with good intentions).... Nor will a "paycheck fairness" law work.

    That's because women's pay-equity advocates, who always insist one more law is needed, continue to overlook the effects of female AND male behavior:

    Despite the 40-year-old demand for women's equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of "The Secrets of Happily Married Women," stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. "In the past few years,” he says in a CNN report at, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier....” at If indeed a higher percentage of women is staying at home, perhaps it's because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs — so why bother working if they're going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman.)

    As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Answer: Because they're supported by their husband, an “employer” who pays them to stay at home. (Far more wives are supported by a spouse than are husbands.)

    The implication of this is probably obvious to most 12-year-olds but seems incomprehensible to, or is wrongly dismissed as irrelevant by, feminists and the liberal media: If millions of wives are able to accept NO wages, millions of other wives, whose husbands' incomes vary, are more often able than husbands to:

    -accept low wages
    -refuse overtime and promotions
    -choose jobs based on interest first, wages second — the reverse of what men tend to do (The most popular job for American women as of 2010 is still secretary/administrative assistant, which has been a top ten job for women for the last 50 years.
    -take more unpaid days off
    -avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining (
    -work fewer hours than their male counterparts, or work less than full-time instead of full-time (as in the above example regarding physicians)

    Any one of these job choices lowers women's median pay relative to men's. And when a wife makes one of the choices, her husband often must take up the slack, thereby increasing HIS pay.

    Women who make these choices are generally able to do so because they are supported — or, if unmarried, anticipate being supported — by a husband who feels pressured to earn more than if he'd chosen never to marry. (Married men earn more than single men, but even many men who shun marriage, unlike their female counterparts, feel their self worth is tied to their net worth.) This is how MEN help create the wage gap: as a group they tend more than women to pass up jobs that interest them for ones that pay well.

    More in "Will the Ledbetter Act Help Women?" at
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