ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Nationally, women effectively stop getting paid Oct. 29 because of the gender pay gap and in Arkansas that date is even earlier.
In Arkansas, the average salary for men is $44,631 and the average salary for women is $35,467. That’s a 21% difference between men and women. According to Business.org, the Natural State ranks 31st in the nation when it comes to the gender pay gap. Arkansas women effectively stopped getting paid Oct. 15 because of that gap.
Sarah Alter, president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women, said more needs to be done to help women in the workforce.
“It’s that corporate infrastructure that fails to really identify how women uniquely need to be supported in their career journey,” Alter said.
Alter said there are many challenges for women pursing careers in different industries. She said the past year and a half of the pandemic has brought these challenges to the foreground.
“It’s really shone the spotlight on yeah, it’s not easy for women to be navigating their career with all the inherent bias and discrimination, in particularly for women of color, and particularly for women who are a member or identify as a woman in the LGBTQIA+ community,” Alter said.
Women in Networking is a Northwest Arkansas organization dedicated to supporting the advancement of local women. President A.J. Shirey said the group equips women with the skills needed to excel in the workplace.
“Basically what we help them with would be more of their skill set that we help them have and so to me, if you’re increasing your value in the marketplace, in your professionalism, that’s going to help you get a promotion,” Shirey said.
Nationally, there is an 18 percent difference between the average salaries of men and women. Alter and Shirey both said education and discussion on the gender pay gap is critical to reaching pay equity.