About the Gender Wage Gap

The gender wage gap is a serious economic issue that affects men, women, and families in our state.

It exists because women on average are paid less than men for doing the same job.

The data shows that women in Massachusetts earn just 83 cents on the dollar. This ratio is even worse for many women of color: Asian women earn 84 cents, Native women earn 64 cents, African American women earn 59 cents, and Latina women earn 51 cents.

Even though it is against the law to discriminate against women in pay and benefits, there are many reasons why the gap exists.

Many wages and salaries are not publicly shared. Most employers don’t know how to identify and correct the gaps in their payrolls, and jobs have not evolved to be flexible for women and families in the 21st century. The underrepresentation of women in many industries and leadership positions, and the lack of public awareness about the wage gap could also be a major contributing factor.

What is clear is pay inequity is a serious problem that not only impacts women. It also hurts men and families. Because women earn less, it also affects our economy and communities.

Why is equal pay good for your business or organization?

If you are an employer, paying women and men equally for performing the same job will greatly benefit your organization by:

  • Attracting and retaining talented and diverse employees.
  • Reducing employee turnover and improving the efficiency of your organization by retaining staff with knowledge and expertise.
  • Making your employees feel valued, and therefore improving their morale and performance.
  • Encouraging a gender-neutral workplace culture.
  • Becoming a highly visible leader for women and families.
  • Improving your overall performance and profitability thanks to a happy and productive workforce.


Download the Wage Gap Fact Sheet (pdf)


Don’t women get paid less because of the choices they make, or because they are bad at negotiating their pay?

No. In fact, research shows that after controlling for many factors including women’s college major, occupation, hours worked, grade point average, age, geographical region, and marital status, a portion of the gender wage gap still cannot be explained.

Isn’t the gender wage gap closing quickly?

No. At the current rate, the wage gap for women in Massachusetts will not close until 2058.

I don’t know if my business/organization is paying men and women equally. What should I do?

Send an email to your employer through EqualPayMA’s contact tool, or have a conversation with your employer directly.

If I’m receiving less in pay than someone who is doing the same job as me, does that mean my employer is discriminating against me?

I believe that I am being discriminated against, and want to file a complaint and/or take action against my employer. What should I do?

Please file a formal complaint with the Office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts.

My business/organization doesn’t have a wage gap, because we pay our employees equally. Why should I use the “Employer Tool Kit”?

If you are an employer, you can’t know if men and women are being paid equally in your organization if you haven’t completed an internal equal pay audit. The “Employer Tool Kit” contains easy and innovative solutions to help you close the gender wage gap.

If you have already completed an audit, the Employer Tool Kit offers additional strategies and best practices that will further promote equal pay in your workplace.

How can I get involved with EqualPayMA.com?

Please sign up for our email announcements and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to help us close the wage gap!

Stay tuned for future Women's Economic Empowerment Series, free financial education and salary negotiation workshops.