Closing Gender Wage Gap Would Cut Poverty Rate In Half, Report Says

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Closing the gender wage gap would cut poverty in half and add nearly a half trillion dollars to the economy, according to a special report from Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress.

On average, American women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. That rate has been stable for the last five years, ThinkProgress reports. That gap has a large impact on woman as well as childrem.

“That's 42 million women and the 28 million children who depend on them, living one single incident—a doctor's bill, a late paycheck, or a broken-down car—away from economic ruin,” the Shriver Report said in a release.

“We report that closing the wage gap between men and women would cut the poverty rate in half, adding nearly half a trillion dollars to the national economy and boosting the gross domestic product by 2 to 3 percent,” it said.

If women working full time made the same amount as men, it would boost their income their incomes by $6,250 a year on average, according to economists Heidi Hartmann and Jeffrey Hayes of the Institute for Policy Research.

This money would effectively cut the poverty rate in half, raising 3 million of the nearly 6 million working women above the poverty line.

The extra money would also bolster the economy as a whole, raising GDP by 2.9 percent, or $450 billion.

"For too many American women, the dream of 'having it all' has morphed into 'just hanging on,'" said journalist Maria Shriver.

She says the report is meant to identify “what we as a nation can do about it.”

“This nation cannot have sustained economic prosperity and well-being until women’s new, central role is recognized and women’s economic health is used as a measure-perhaps it should be the measure-to shape common-sense policies and priorities for the 21st century,” Shriver wrote. “In other words, leave out the women, and you don’t have a full and robust economy. Lead with the women, and you do.”

Sources: ThinkProgress, MSNBC