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Hundreds of Mississippians gathered at the state Capitol the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration to participate in a sister march to the Women's March on Washington.
Photo by Arielle Dreher. The state has the highest share of women in poverty, it found, as well as the lowest life expectancy at birth for women.
These findings match what U. Census Bureau data and other research show about women in Mississippi. Status of Women data gave Mississippi an "F" grade for health and well-being as well as employment and earnings in Mississippi women are at high risk for heart disease, the report shows, with the highest mortality rate of any state. Mississippi women also earn about 75 cents for every dollar a man earns in the state, which is similar to what a new study from the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning shows about Mississippi women who work full-time.
That study says they earn approximately 27 percent less than their male counterparts. Efforts to pass gender-pay legislation failed this legislative session, but State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, who is one of two women in elected state office, reiterated last week that it is not a political issue.
The recent IHL study on the state's gender-pay gap found that the gap between men and women in pay after taking age, education, race and occupation into consideration is around 18 percent. That is, a woman may choose a less high-paying and demanding job due to child-care decisions and other factors, which can for part of the gap between what men and women earn in the state. If women are willing to take lower pay so that they can work hours more suitable to their family's needs, then discrimination is not at play.
However, if employers assume all women are willing to take lower pay for more flexible hours and therefore do not offer women other options, discrimination could exist. Advocates in the state have also pushed legislation to ask lawmakers to raise the minimum wage and require all employers to offer paid sick or family leave to support the high of single, working mothers in the state.
Bills to increase the minimum wage did not make it out of committee in the legislative session. The news business has changed dramatically in the past year, and we need your help more than ever to keep bringing you important stories about Jackson and the Metro.
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