PCADV’s Prevention team publishes report on pay equity in Pennsylvania

March 31, 2021

Report analyzes the link between the gender pay gap and intimate partner violence

HARRISBURG, Pa., (March 31, 2021) — The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) received funding from the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to examine and publish a report on pay equity trends nationally and in the Commonwealth of  Pennsylvania  and to analyze the ways the gender pay gap contributes to the risk factors for domestic violence. The “PCADV Pay Equity Report” also recommends potential actions steps that could be taken to reduce both pay inequity and intimate partner violence.

The report states that women in the United States earn 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. This trend, known as the gender wage gap, or pay inequity, and is prevalent in every state in the Country. In Pennsylvania, the median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job is $41,929, while the median yearly pay for a man with a full-time, year-round job is $52,111. The gender wage gap exists irrespective of industry and level of education and is even worse for mothers and women of color. The wage gap has negative impacts on women, both economically and on their health, many of which are also known to be risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV).

In Pennsylvania, approximately 609,000 households in Pennsylvania are headed by women, and 28 percent of those, 168,215 families, live below the poverty line. Eliminating the gender wage gap would provide needed income for women whose wages sustain their households.1 Pay equity would reduce the poverty rate by more than half, and poverty among employed single mothers would also drop by more than half.2 Poverty is a risk factor for IPV.

The gap disproportionately increases risk factors that lead to IPV. The report looks at poverty among other risk factors. Women who experience societal and community-level risk factors like economic instability, unequal power dynamics, weak social networks, housing insecurity and harmful gender norms are at an increased risk for IPV.

There has been little progress in narrowing the gender wage gap since the 1980s. The “PCADV Pay Equity Report” puts forward recommendations that could make progress toward closing the gender wage gap, thereby empowering women to have equal access to resources to thrive in their communities. A society where pay equity exists is one where there is a reduced risk of violence. The report explores actionable steps for achieving pay equity, including comparable worth, paid medical leave, raising the living wage, anti-discrimination policies, protecting and strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, modernizing the Equal Pay Act and looking at ways to leverage well-resourced, cross-sector community partnerships.

The complete “PCADV Pay Equity Report” can be viewed here. A companion condensed fact sheet can also be found here.

1 Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2018. “The Economic Status of Women in Pennsylvania”. IWPR Fact Sheet, March, 2018.

2 Ibid