Women of the Indiana House Democratic Caucus: It’s time to close the gender pay gap in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS – Representatives Lisa Beck (D-Lakes of the Four Seasons), Pat Boy (D-Michigan City), Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis), and Carolyn B. Jackson (D-Hammond) today outlined bills they’ve co-authored and introduced this legislative session that would help close the gender pay gap in Indiana during the Equality Pay Coalition Press Conference at the Statehouse, which was hosted by the Equality Pay$ Indiana Coalition.

According to the Indiana Institute for Working Families, in 2016 in Indiana, the median earnings of full-time male workers were $12,717 higher than the median earnings of full-time female workers. This is a 26-percent wage gap. As the nation’s wage gap narrowed between 2015 and 2016, Indiana’s wage gap widened 2 percentage points. With no single source driving the gender wage gap, Indiana will need to adopt multiple strategies to close it.

Rep. Hamilton introduced and Rep. Beck co-authored House Bill 1288 that would create a state-level child and dependent care tax credit. This state credit would help working mothers afford things like infant and child care when they enter or re-enter the workforce.

Hamilton said, “In Indiana, our young, new families are paying $12,000 per-year, on average, in infant child care, which is a cost that most families cannot afford. My bill would help working mothers and families access high quality and affordable childcare.”

Beck said, “I am proud to co-author this bill because we need real action to provide financial relief to working and middle-class women and families. We should be putting money back into the pockets of the hardworking women and families in Indiana to help them afford the rising cost of child care.”

Rep. Boy introduced House Bill 1205 that would require school corporations to provide each classroom teacher a salary increase of between 2 and 5 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 77 percent of teachers nationwide are women. Indiana has one of the worst rates of teacher pay and teacher retention in the Midwest.

Boy said, “Our teachers work hard to provide our children with a quality education. Most of the time, those teachers are women. An investment in a competitive salary for teachers across Indiana is an investment in a quality education for our children, who are the future of our state and country.”

Rep. Jackson introduced House Bill 1047 that would provide equal pay and wage disclosure protection. This would allow more transparency in the work place, so that women can accurately gauge how much they are making in comparison to their male colleagues.

Jackson said, “On average, women are paid about $13,000 less per-year when doing the same job as a male colleague. What does that mean? It means after 30 years in the workforce, women have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars less than men. The gap in pay adds up over time and that also means women experiencing a pay gap will retire with significantly less money than men.”

For the first time ever, the Indiana House Democratic Caucus is made up of a majority of women. Reps. Beck, Boy, Hamilton and Jackson are just 4 of the Indiana House Democratic Caucus’ 17 women members who are committed to addressing the key issues that affect the economic prosperity of Hoosier women and families.

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