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October 6, 2006
The Women’s Employment Issues Committee of the Maine Jobs Council today released a report on working women in Maine, concluding that although progress has been made in recent years to close the gender wage gap, women still earn significantly less than men and are more likely to live in poverty. “Governor Baldacci asked me to lead the charge on pay equity, with a goal that hard work would always lead to fair and equal compensation. I’m proud of the work of the Jobs Council. We’ve made progress, but we must do more,” said Commissioner Laura Fortman.
“More than ever, families are relying on wages earned by women,” said Sharon Barker, Director of the Women's Resource Center at the University of Maine. “When Maine women are economically secure, their families, their communities and the state as a whole benefit.”
The report tracked women’s success in the labor market based on eight primary indicators, including data on employment, wages, education and health insurance coverage.
The report’s findings include:
- In Maine, women who worked full-time had a gender wage gap with full-time men of $0.77.
- There are three industry sectors where women are concentrated that are expecting employment increases of over 15% over the next decade - health care, social services, and educational services. However, not all jobs in those sectors offer high wages.
- Women had a higher financial return to education than men in 2004. They experienced a 66.6% earnings increase from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree and a 108.7% earnings increase from a high school diploma to a graduate degree. For men, the increases were 46.4% and 91.9% respectively.
- Women placed in nontraditional occupations through Maine’s CareerCenters earned an average hourly wage of $11.79 compared to women’s average hourly placement wage of $9.80.
- Between 1989 and 2004, women’s poverty rates remained higher than men’s, but the gap between the two is narrowing. The percentage of Maine women in poverty (13.6%) was less than the national average (14.5%).
The Women’s Subcommittee of the Maine Jobs Council fosters action on current factors affecting women’s participation in the workforce. The committee highlights employment issues, develops recommendations to the Maine Jobs Council, and proposes and promotes policies, programs, and legislation that provide full economic opportunity for all Maine women.
A copy of the report is available on the Maine Jobs Council website at: http://www.maine.gov/labor/mjc/documents/2006womensreport.html For more information, contact Peaches Bass at (207) 624-6390 or TTY: 1-800-794-1110.
Contact: Sharon Barker
Tel: (207) 581-1501