Indiana men and women have one of the nation's biggest disparities in pay for the same amount of work, according to a pay equity study.
The American Association of University Women, a not-for-profit that pushes for equality for women, conducted a 2017 analysis to compare median yearly earnings by sex in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and compared the protections and solutions offered to workers who face discrimination.
The analysis showed that Indiana scored noticeably below the national average in wage parity, the Evansville Courier and Press reported. Indiana men are paid around 37 percent more than their female peers. The national median average is around 25 percent, the report states.
"In the state of Indiana, women are losing over a half-million dollars over the course of their lifetime based on wage disparities," said Erika Taylor, the CEO of YWCA Evansville, which hosted an Equal Pay Day event Tuesday. "I think people are shocked when they realize how prevalent it is and how shocking that statistic is."
The pay gap is more pronounced for Latina and black women than it is for white women. Latina women are usually paid roughly 53 percent of what their white male peers are paid. Black women's salaries are normally around 61 percent of their white male peers' income, according to the AAUW.
Asian women have the smallest pay gap compared to white men, as they earned about 85 percent of what their white male peers made in 2017. But, Asian women were paid only about 75 percent as much as Asian men, according to a national Bureau of Labor Statistics report that year.
Taylor said U.S. companies have begun closing the wage gap, but not swiftly enough.
"If we continue at the pace we're at now, it'll be well into the 2050s before the gap would close," she said.
Indiana ranked 49th, with adjacent Illinois and Kentucky ranking 38th and 33rd, respectively. That information was collected from federal agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau in addition to surveys of individuals and businesses, AAUW noted.
Critics and fact checkers say such studies are misleading because they represent a collective average for all jobs and don't really makes comparisons of men and women holding identical jobs. Pew Research Center says much of the earnings gap can be explained by measurable factors such as educational attainment, occupational choices and work experience.