HELENA – With Montana women making 67 percent of what men are paid for the same job, Gov. Steve Bullock this week created the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force.

He charged the task force with gathering information, furnishing advice and providing him with recommendations to close the pay equity gap here.

As task force co-chairs, Bullock appointed Pam Bucy, commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry, and Sheila Hogan, director of the Department of Administration. Other members will be appointed later.

Bullock sponsored a reception Thursday morning to celebrate the task force establishment and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s signing of the Equal Pay Act in June 1963. Legislators and education leaders participated, along with representatives of groups such as the Women’s Foundation, the American Association of University Women and the Women’s Leadership Network.

When Kennedy signed the bill into law, women were paid only 59 cents for every $1 that men were paid for the same work, Bullock said. Today, American women nationally earn 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men, he said.

In Montana, however, women continue to lag, making 67 cents for every $1 men make for doing the same work, he said. The state ranks 39th nationally for pay equity.

“I’d match the Montana work ethic up against any other state in the nation, and 39th place for pay equity is, simply put, unreasonable,” Bullock said. “Montana’s workers deserve a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work, regardless of their gender.”

Women make up 60 percent of the Montana labor force, graduate from high school at a higher rate than men and from college at the same rate, he said, and they work just as hard.

“My own daughters have a few more years before we send them out into the workforce, but when they fill out their first job application, I want them to know that the work they do is valued, and just as important as their male coworkers,” Bullock said.

Reach the Missoulian newsroom at @missoulian, at newsdesk@missoulian.com or at (406) 523-5240

(2) comments


This story (literally a story) is not true - it's a lie. It's shameful that the anonymous Missoulian writers continue to disseminate this propaganda, which as absolutely no basis in truth.

A new survey from PayScale finds that the wage gap nearly disappears when you control for occupation and experience among the most common jobs. The "wage gap" comes from won choosing different jobs and losing ground later in their careers. Women more often choose stay at home to raise children, and so fall behind their male counterparts. Women also are more likely to choose jobs that give them more flexibility.

The government compares all weekly earnings, regardless of factors that affect pay. But when you compare men and women with the same education, same management responsibilities, similar employers, in companies with a similar number of employees, and control for factors such as hours worked, overtime, seniority, etc. the gender wage gap disappears.

Even within the same field or category, men are more likely than women to pursue areas of specialization with higher levels of stress. Within the medical field, for example, men are far more likely to become surgeons while women tend to choose lower stress and lower paying specialties like pediatrics and dentistry.

Men are far more likely to choose careers that involve physical labor, overnight and weekend shifts, dangerous conditions, as well as uncomfortable, isolated, outdoor, and undesirable locations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10 most dangerous jobs are all male-dominated. These occupations also pay more than less dangerous and taxing careers. Preliminary 2011 data on workplace fatalities reveals that men account for 92 percent of workplace deaths. Men work 57% of the total hours worked in the USA, while women work only 43% of the total hours.

Many women have different priorities than men do. They tend to value factors like job security, workplace safety, flexible hours, and work conditions much higher than they value compensation. For example, Department of Labor surveys show that men work an average of 9% more hours than women. Demanding jobs that command higher pay naturally require longer hours.

A 2010 analysis of Census Bureau data showed that young, single women who have never had a child actually earned 8% more than their male counterparts in most U.S. cities. The findings seem to be driven by an ongoing trend: more and more women – now more than men, in fact – are attending college and going on to relatively high-paying professional careers.


Also,women receive much special treatment, from more lenient sentences than males for the same crimes, to hiring and promotion over more-qualified men, reduced physical standards for some jobs and in the military, never drafted into the military, no mandatory draft registration, etc.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Currant Population Survey, and the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.


This story, to be crude about it, is pure BS. Give us one example of this supposed 67% pay. In Missoula, do you really believe that MCPS employees have a male-female differential, that state employees, that county employees, city employees? No way. This town is run by women in the first place. And what about Saint Pat's and CMC, and Real Estate and on and on? Who in Helena comes up with these lies? What they are talking about was possibly 40 years ago.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.