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Study: Alaska ranks No. 2 in income gender gap

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

A new study by 24/7 Wall St., the online financial news site, has found that Alaska has the second highest income gender gap in the U.S.

24/7 Wall St. analyzed the median incomes for the past year of full-time, year-round men and women workers in each state, as found in the 2011 American Community Survey, in order to analyze gender pay inequality. 

The difference between full-time, year round income for men and women in Alaska is $15,285. When part-time workers are included, Alaska’s gender gap is highest in the nation, with a $16,464 difference between median pay for women and men, the study finds. 

The biggest reason for the pay gap is the field in which people are employed in each state, Institute for Women’s Policy Research study director Ariane Hegewisch explained to 24/7. For states where more people are employed in blue collar work, the gap tends to be higher; women are more likely to work in lower paying sectors, such as retail, while men are able to find work in fields such as construction, which generally pay higher.

While the gender gap exists in every occupation, it is far less marked in some sectors such as health care, education and real estate.

In Alaska, the oil and gas industry pays high wages but is dominated by men, while Alaska has a national low of 4 percent of jobs in fields that have a lower pay gap. 

Higher education for Alaska women also did not close the pay gap. Women with a bachelor’s degree earned less than men with an associate degree or just some college courses overall, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Women also comprise two-thirds of all minimum wage workers in the state.

Wyoming has the gender gap at $17,838 with full time work, and also had the highest percentage of people working in occupations such as construction, forestry, hunting and mining, but a pay gap still existed in other sectors that were not necessarily male-dominated.

Read more, and check out the entire list, here.