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.

4. Nevada

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    Tera Burbank (r.) and her husband, John Clark, of Las Vegas were unemployed for two years. High unemployment can drive down the gender pay gap.
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Nevada’s earnings ratio – 85 percent – breaks down to $35,484 for women versus $41,803 for men.

Nevada’s two largest industries – tourism and mining – are gender-segregated industries, with mining dominated by men and tourism industries by women, according to the AAUW. But the strength of the leisure and hospitality industry in Nevada gives it a comparatively narrow pay gap.

A narrow wage gap isn’t necessarily an indication of high wages, though. States with low overall earnings and high unemployment (Nevada has the highest unemployment rate) often have narrow gender wage gaps, Ms. Hegewisch told Forbes.

“So if you don’t have good opportunities for either men or women, we often find a lower wage gap. A job is a job,” she said.

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