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Advocates Say New Census Data Shows Gender, Racial Pay Gap P

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Advocates Say New Census Data Shows Gender, Racial Pay Gap Persists
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Associated Press

New data from the U.S. Census has advocates in Mississippi speaking out about the gender and racial wage gap.

White women in Mississippi earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. That's according to the American Association of University Women. The Mississippi Women's Economic Security Initiative reports the rate for Black and Latina women is 56 cent for every dollar a White man earns. Kimberly Churches is with the American Association of University Women.

"Women working full-time in Mississippi lost a combined total of $6 billion dollars last year to the wage gap and that's not only a loss for her, but it's also to her family, her community and her state," said Church.

Carol Burnett with the Women's Economic Security Initiative says Mississippi is one of only two states with no pay equity law. The other one is Alabama.

"There's been an effort in the last couple of years of the Mississippi legislature to try and get a gender pay equity bill. So far we haven't been able to succeed at getting that done. But I think we will certainly continue working on that," said Burnett.

Jameson Taylor is with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, a conservative think tank. He says the state is following the federal wage law. He questions the American Association of University Women who got the data from updated U.S. Census information.

"When you look at these census bureau reports, we've seen them before and the data is just plain unreliable. When you control for things like hours worked, marital status or job hazards there's simply no gender pay gap," said Taylor.

Carol Burnett says her organization will continue to advocate for a state pay equity law and urge employers to improve women's wages.