News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 29, 2012

So, why is it that WOMEN’S PAY is 72 percent (or 64 or 59) of men’s?

Census, studies show continuing gender gap

TERRE HAUTE — Attention, women: Do you think your effort, time and intelligence on the job have less value than the effort, time and intelligence of a man with equal ability?

Of course not. And yet, the average working American woman earns only 72 cents for every dollar that her male counterpart earns.

In Indiana, the inequality is greater — 64 cents.

In Vigo County, it’s 59 cents.

Why the difference? That’s a question that’s being asked around the country since the issue of pay inequality recently surfaced during the second presidential debate. The question has brought attention to an inequality that has long been documented. Among all full-time workers, women are paid about 77 cents for every dollar paid to men — a figure that has not changed for a decade.

The Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey five-year estimates show a wide variance between the median income of women and the median income of men employed in 2010.

Besides the disparity in Vigo County — a community with five institutions of higher learning — other Wabash Valley counties are also below the state average. In Clay, the average working woman makes 61 cents for every dollar the average working man draws. In Sullivan County, it’s 55 cents; Vermillion, 56 cents; Parke, 60 cents; and Greene, 63 cents.

But the gap doesn’t apply just to those who have been longtime members of the workforce.

Last week, the American Association of University Women released its own study showing a persistent pay gap affects women who are new to the workforce.

Just one year out of college, millennial women are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to their male peers. Women are paid less than men, even when they do the same work and major in the same field, according to the AAUW reports.

“The problem with the pay gap is that it is not closing, despite the fact that women make up half of the workforce and half of college graduates,” said Barbara Eversole, director of the Human Resources Development and Performance Technologies at Indiana State University.

“It is also a substantial gap, and one that adds up over the working life of women,” Eversole continued. “These lost wages mean a lot to dual-income families, but it means even more to single mothers trying to support their families. Lower pay translates into lower Social Security down the road, or lower pensions.”

Eversole — along with economist Debra Israel, communication professor Darlene Hantzis and others in the ISU community and other institutions — participated in a discussion of work-life integration as part of a two-day conference at ISU last week.

Among panelists who spoke on workplace issues were Bryan Jackson of Applied Extrusion Technologies, and David Myers, senior vice president of Terre Haute Savings Bank.

Jackson said that while AET ranks in the 75th to 80th percentile for pay in the manufacturing industry, it is a mostly male-dominated operation. The reason for that is that entry-level hourly positions are very physical and not attractive to many females, he said. Employees are promoted from the lower-paying jobs to the mid-range supervisory positions, he noted, and that tends to continue the trend of more males in the manufacturing workplace.

Myers, a veteran of the banking industry, said that management in banks used to be male-dominated, as well. But because of the industry growth, THSB has promoted from within and brought several women through leadership training. Probably 50 percent of the bank’s leadership is women, he said.

So while opportunities exist where women can be leaders, or have equal pay for equal work, the fact that the disparity remains has brought a lot of study to the issue.

Changing family dynamic

Part of the problem, Eversole said, is that women’s pay is too often seen as additional to the main breadwinner of the family. But that outdated notion does not consider the changing dynamic of family structure in American society, as the number of female-led households increases.

“The problem for society is that the lowest-paid jobs are in fields that attract women because they enjoy the helping professions,” Eversole said. “Society doesn’t value caregiving, so caregiving jobs pay less. In fact, the lowest paid of all is the married working mother, while the highest paid is the married working father.”

Economists tend to look at things outside of discrimination to explain the gender-wage gap, Israel said. Occupational choice may explain some of it — an engineering job may pay higher than a nursing career, even if both careers require a four-year college degree.

“If we compare two people at the start of their careers when they have the same education and no difference in experience, you have much less of a wage gap,” Israel explained. “But when we compare with age, women have sometimes taken time off to raise children and start a family.”

Eversole agreed.

“One of the reasons for this persistent gap is that women bear children,” she said. “Every woman is a potential caregiver. This means fewer opportunities, fewer promotions, and that leads to less pay. Young women know the sacrifices high-paying careers require, and self-select out of those jobs if they think that they want to have a family. Young men don’t need to make that choice.”

In the academic community, charting professional growth pathways is a way to look for disparities in work-life, Hantzis said. Taking ISU for instance, more than 100 men have reached full professor status, while just more than two dozen women have advanced beyond assistant and associate professor, she said.

Vigo at 59 cents

Vigo County’s wage gap harkens back to 1977, Hantzis said, recalling a green lapel button that she wore that said “59” because that was the national percentage gap between men and women’s pay at that time.

“Here I am back with the 59 button,” she said.

Gender wage is an area where Americans have proven to be willing to accept a glacial pace of progress, Hantzis said. This nation is 22nd on the international list of pay equity. And yet, there are some places in America where men and women receive equal pay.

In the Washington, D.C., area, the gap is 87 percent, but in nearby Prince George’s County, Md., it’s 99 percent. In some counties of Texas and New Mexico, the average wage for women exceeds the average man’s pay.

“We see places in the nation where it happens, so we know it’s possible,” Hantzis said.

Marsha Miller, a librarian at ISU’s Cuningham Memorial Library and a member of AAUW, has paid particular attention to the most recent study, and she said that higher education, while essential, does not guarantee more equitable pay for women.

“One clear message that this latest report shows is that a pay gap continues to exist regardless of educational level,” Miller said. “A college degree is vital and we need more Hoosiers to attain that degree. As children and young adults think about what sort of career they might be interested in, they and their parents need to consider so many factors, including personal interests and talents.”

As the information in the report was filtered, the researchers noted an “unexplained pay gap” of 7 percent — for instance, when a man and a woman work in the same field, full time, with the same number of hours per week and same occupation, the woman will still be found making 7 percent less.

One potential contributor is continued gender discrimination, she said.

AAUW has partnered with The Wage Project to promote workshops in salary negotiation. Researchers have found that women do not negotiate salaries, benefits and perks as often as men. The Wage Project has workshops designed to give people looking for their first professional position the skills to do just that. The main target is women, but all college graduates can participate.

Several such projects have occurred throughout the state of Indiana, but none locally, Miller said.

While more women than men are now in college, and more women than men between the ages of 25 and 64 are likely to have a college degree, the wage gap continues to pervade the workforce.

At Ivy Tech Community College, Chancellor Ann Valentine said students are encouraged to complete their associate’s degree because on average, a degree brings in $11,000 more in income than a high school diploma.

The fact that women often interrupt their career path with family choices adds a wage disadvantage, she said, because it can take them out of the seniority stream of their workplace.

The AAUW study shows that in every state, women make a fraction of what men make. In some counties, they make half as much or less.

Women in Utah have it the worst. There, the average working woman makes 55 cents for every dollar the average working man makes. Following are Wyoming, at 56 cents; Louisiana, 59 cents; North Dakota, 62 cents; and Michigan, 62 cents. The best states for income equality are Hawaii, Florida, Nevada, Maryland and North Carolina; in each, women earn about three-fourths of what men earn.

What can be done?

So what can society do about the equal pay for equal work issue?

Hantzis said that transparency by employers is key to healthy work environments.

“It’s about being open to pay-and-performance issues,” she said. “In too many work environments, there is no transparency between work productivity and pay.”

She also notes that it is important not to let people deny or discount studies that show the gap. The four responses that she sees to such data usually begin with denial, followed by discounting the information as not significant, followed by justifications claiming that women are not a stable workforce because of their caregiver status, and then the concession that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Unfortunately, the nation has been in concession mode for a long time — which has turned into tolerance of moving at a snail’s pace to provide equal pay.

“The pay gap matters for women and families they support,” Eversole said. “It matters because it is not fair that half of society’s work is devalued. What does it say about us as a society that caring for others has such a low status?”

And, equal pay is one of the best economic stimulus plans around, Hantzis said.

“How much more money would an employer have to invest, and what kind of stimulus would that be to the economy?” she asked. “The greatest impact would come in the lower-income families. There’s no question that much more money would be put back into our economy.”

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 10, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.

    July 10, 2014

  • Ethics panel considers $5K fine against Bennett

    Indiana’s State Ethics Commission will decide whether to accept a proposed settlement with former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett that fines him $5,000 for using state resources for his 2012 campaign.

    July 10, 2014

  • Group: 5,000 same-sex marriages in Illinois

    A survey indicates thousands of same-sex couples are marrying in Illinois.

    July 10, 2014

  • Study: Hunting restores forests in state parks

    A study by a Purdue University research team has found that regulated deer hunts in Indiana state parks have helped restore forests damaged by too many white-tailed deer.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges

    Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle

    A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.

    July 9, 2014

  • Free carwash for law enforcement

    Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana agencies told to ignore gay marriages

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office is telling state agencies act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.

    July 9, 2014

  • State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes

    INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana education board faces contentious meeting

    Indiana’s State Board of Education is gearing up for another showdown between Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s appointees and staff.
    The board is set to consider a pair of resolutions dealing with control of the board during a meeting Wednesday.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 9, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on jail records.

    July 9, 2014

  • Indiana getting $849,000 for outdoor projects

    Indiana is receiving $849,000 to use toward outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

    July 9, 2014

  • Semi fire halts I-70 traffic in Putnam County

    A fire in a semi tractor-trailer temporarily closed eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Putnam County on Tuesday evening.

    July 9, 2014

  • I&M proposes five solar facilities in two states

    Indiana Michigan Power plans to seek permission to build five solar generating facilities in the two states it serves.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 voice four.jpg Hitting a high note

    A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070814 STORM STAUNTON.jpg Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back

    Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 052106 EVANBAYH ADDRESS.jpg Return to Indiana?

    Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party

    Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070814 CATHOLIC WARE.jpg Guys give food bank a lift

    A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • wilson,robert.jpg ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • eBus brings financial empowerment to town

    A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll  into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”

    July 8, 2014

  • Elderly woman accused of killing 89-year-old husband

    An 83-year-old woman, described as "a loose cannon" by her landlord, has been arrested in this Buffalo suburb for beating her 89-year-old husband to death.

    July 8, 2014

  • wilson,robert.jpg BREAKING: ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A suspect police considered “armed and dangerous” is now in custody in Marion County.
    Robert Wilson is facing local charges there and has a hold on him for Vermillion County, according to Vermillion County Sheriff Robert J. Spence.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 051713 BAYH SMILE.jpg Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
    Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.

    July 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 8, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.

    July 8, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Raw: Rocket Explodes Over Israeli Wedding World's Tallest Water Slide: See It for Yourself Sterling Testifies in Los Angeles Clippers Trial Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Raw: World's Tallest Water Slide Opens Thursday Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating APNewsBreak: Different Attackers in Benghazi? Raw: Brazil Fans Cry After World Cup Loss Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Four Kids, Two Adults Shot Dead Near Houston Obama: 'Photo Ops' Won't Solve Border Crisis Raw: Fans Gather for Argentina-Netherlands Match
NDN Video
Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel Pilot buys pizzas for travelers delayed by storm Klose nets record, Germany rout Brazil 7-1 'Purrmanently Sad Cat' Looks Adorably Sad All the Time Pharrell 'humbled' by success of mega-hit 'Happy' Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Jennifer Lawrence Facepalms Emma Watson Athletes Bare All for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue Raw: Brazil Fans Leaving Stadium Before Half Andi Dorfman Walks Out During the Rose Ceremony 5 Firework Fails for July 4th Justin Bieber Catches Tom Hanks Getting Down, Showing ‘How We Do It Big shoes to fill for Brazil ahead of Germany clash Man's 'Potato Salad' Plea Takes Off on Kickstarter

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010