A new study has found that even while wage increases for women in Miami-Dade outpaced men, women still make less in the workplace.
The study called “The Status of Women in Miami-Dade County” is the first of its kind for the county commission to look at the financial well-being of women.
Over the past 15 years, the wage gap between men and women decreased, according to the study by Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center and Miami Dade’s auditor’s office.
In 2000, women in the county working full-time earned 18 percent less than men. In 2014 that had dropped to 13 percent. Entrepreneurship is growing among women, and although men own a majority of firms in the county, women-headed firms saw larger growth over a three-year period.
Yet even with some gains, significant gaps persist. According to the study, women in Miami-Dade make 87 cents for every dollar a man makes.
Overall the county has seen an increase in people living in poverty since 2000, according to the study.
But women are more likely to live in poverty. Twenty-one percent of women in Miami-Dade earn below the poverty level, outpacing the national average of 16.5 percent.
The poverty numbers become more acute when broken down by race. Thirty-one percent of black women live in poverty compared to 21.5 percent of Hispanic women and 12 percent of white women.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava said that often means children in single-family homes are also living in poverty.
“It’s really critical with female-headed households particularly that we proceed to do the best we can to increase the salaries,” she said.
The study found gender pay gaps exist across job sectors, but architecture and engineering, health diagnostics and the legal field saw some of the largest disparities
For example, in health diagnostics the median income for men is 40 percent more than women. In the legal field, the median income for men ballooned to 114 percent more than women.
Maria Ilcheva, senior researcher with FIU’s Metropolitan Center, said the large disparity in the legal field is largely because women are more likely to hold lower paying clerical and administrative jobs in law firms.
“Part of it is the glass ceiling. There is the perception that women are not suited for top occupations in certain professions,” said Ilcheva, “We have not come to terms with the fact in our community that women and men can be good in all occupations.”
Levine Cava said the county has plans to use these findings to come up with ways to better strengthen job growth and pay equity for women.
“We live in a community that has a great and growing inequality,” she said. “And even with the great disparity between the haves and the have-nots, when you look at women they are that much worse off than men.