Gender pay gap: Top 5 best and worst states

The pay gap between men and women has steadily narrowed during the past few decades. Women earned 77 cents for every dollar men earned in 2011, compared with 59 cents in 1963. Here is a look at states with biggest and smallest gender pay gaps today.

1. Washington, D.C.

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    A program analyst with the Government Printing Office hands out copies of the 2004 federal budget in Washington, D.C., in this file photo.
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The top "state" is not a state, actually, but the nation’s capital. In Washington, women earned 90 cents to men’s $1 – $60,332 compared with $66,760.

There is greater salary transparency in the public sector, particularly in federal government occupations, says Catherine Hill, director of research at AAUW. Some 29.1 percent of workers in Washington are in the public sector, according to Gallup.

“If you are in a [general services] pay scale, you know the range that your colleagues can earn,” Ms. Hill says. “This transparency allows people to know if they aren’t being paid fairly.”

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