Bridging the gap: Lowcountry female leaders discuss equal pay

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – For every dollar a man makes in South Carolina, a woman makes just 77 cents and local leaders say the change starts with the system.

South Carolina is at the top of the list when it comes to unequal pay. State and federal leaders are looking for ways to bridge the gap.

“One half of one cent difference since the equal pay act was passed, so we are not barreling towards progress when it comes to equity, we are not even moving at a snails pace,” says Kris De Welde, Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the College of Charleston.

Experts say the pandemic took women out of work with schools and daycares closed.

“If you look at the national statistics from December of 2020, something like 500,00 women dropped out of the work force and almost 100% of them were women,” says Jennet Robinson Alterman with the City of Charleston Commission on Women.

In the Lowcountry, leaders say the change starts with creating benefits and that’s where the City of Charleston plans to start closing the gap.

“Offering benefits that will keep them there and I think it is important for folks to understand that benefits can mean more to somebody than a pay raise,” Alterman says.

There is a bill at the statehouse called the “Act to Establish Pay Equity.” It would make sure potential employers do not consider people’s previous salaries when hiring.

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