Women Still Earning Less Than Men in the Roaring Fork Valley

Sep 18, 2013

A new study shows the wage gap between men and women is greater in Garfield County compared to Pitkin County.
A new study shows the wage gap between men and women is greater in Garfield County compared to Pitkin County.
Credit Creative Commons/Flickr/eflon

Men are making more money than women working in the Roaring Fork Valley. But, the differences vary depending on the county. A new report shows a woman earns 80-cents for every dollar a man makes in Colorado. 

In Pitkin County, on average, a man earns $54,000 a year compared to $47,000 for a woman. In Garfield County, the disparity is greater. A man earns $50,000 annually, compared to a woman’s earnings of $37,000.

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado put together the report. Researchers pulled information from Census data and the state demographics office to come up with the statistics. Cindy Willard with the Women’s Foundation of Colorado says one reason for the disparity is that women are choosing lower-paying jobs.

"The careers that women opt into most times pay less than careers that men opt into and one stark indicator of that is in STEM careers, or science, technology, engineering and math. We know that women are hugely under-represented as their percentage of a population in those careers. We know that those careers have the highest return on a given level of education," she says.

The study also points out women are more likely to be poor than men. And, poverty rates vary in the state’s different regions. Women 18 and older in the southern part of Colorado have the highest poverty rate at 20 percent. In the north, 9 percent of women are poor.

There is some good news in the study - the teen birth rate and girls’ dropout rate are going down. And, there are more women serving in the Colorado legislature than any other state.

Organizers of the study will present their findings Wednesday night at the El Jebel Community Center. The community conversation is free and starts at 5:30.