Few issues touch the core of the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women's work like pay equity does. Though many legal victories have been won for women's pay and though women in Iowa are in the workforce more than ever before, according to the US Census Bureau, full-time female workers in Iowa still earn an average of $0.78 for each dollar earned by their male counterparts in the same occupation. The wage gap is even higher for women of color in Iowa.
In 2008 and 2010, Iowa Workforce Development conducted a Wage Equity Study. Highlights include information about the compared education, experience, and wages of Iowa women as compared to men, including a map of the average wage gap between men and women by region in Iowa for both hourly and salaried workers. Also, included in the study is employer reported wage data that shows concentration of women in industries and the wage gap between women and men across industries. Although women in their 20s have a smaller wage gap, that gap expands over time, according to ICSW's issue brief, Wage Gap for Iowa Women in Their 20s and 30s.
Reasons for the wage gap are many and complex. It is unclear how much of that gap may be explained by direct discrimination; however, more likely is a combination of "job segregration" (women and men voluntarily choosing traditional career paths with a high concentration of one gender), women losing ground in careers due to care-giving responsibilities, and women's lower rates of negotiating for pay. Together, women, employers, and policymakers can close the gap with some of the following strategies: