Johnson County’s gender pay gap persists — 3 big takeaways from new report

Gender pay disparities continue in 2021. Women in Johnson County make 72 cents for every dollar than men earn. File photo.

Women in Johnson County still make significantly less than their male counterparts.

That’s according to a fact sheet released by United Community Services of Johnson County titled “Economic Outcomes for Women in Johnson County,” which shows women here earn 72 cents for every dollar compared to men’s earnings.

The data comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey 2015-2019 and the U.S. Department of Labor. (This data predates that collected as part of the 2020 U.S. Census.)

The figures are corroborated by a survey of Kansas households as well as the anecdotal experiences of women-owned businesses in Johnson County, which have faced unique pressures during the economic shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to see the full fact sheet.

Here are three takeaways:

Gap persists despite education

Women who work full-time year-round in Johnson County earn $51,871, compared to $71,789 for men.

Furthermore, UCS reports that educational attainment does not necessarily lead to greater pay equity for women.

While women and men have similar rates of educational attainment, the pay gap is still apparent. Men who graduate high school still bring in about $40,000, while women with some college or an associate’s degree earn closer to $35,000.

Meanwhile, men with a bachelor’s degree earn just under $80,000 — nearly $20,000 more than women with a graduate or professional degree, who earn closer to $60,000.

Women of color face extra burden

The gender pay disparities become even more apparent for women of color in Johnson County.

Black women earn 80 cents for every dollar that white women make, and Hispanic/Latina women earn 60 cents for every dollar that white women earn.

Gender pay disparities exist across all races in Johnson County.

The disparity is at its lowest among Black women, who earn 86 cents for every dollar that Black men make. At its largest, Asian women earn 60 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn.

Pandemic strains

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on working parents in Johnson County, but particularly working mothers.

Nationwide, about 2.5 million women have left the work force since the start of the pandemic, compared to 1.8 million men, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Furthermore, child care is considered the primary reason for unemployment, UCS reported.

In Johnson County, UCS reports about 77% of women with children also work, though the pandemic has forced many to leave their jobs or limit their hours. UCS also reports that an estimated 11,800 households in Johnson County are headed by a female.