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Lieutenant Governor Miller and Maryland Department of Labor Release Maryland’s Racial and Gender Wage Gap Report in Honor of Equal Pay Day

ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 12, 2024) – Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller and Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Portia Wu today honored Equal Pay Day, calling attention to a new Department of Labor report detailing significant gender and racial earning gaps in Maryland. Joined by Senator Ariana Kelly and Delegate Jennifer White Holland, who are lead sponsors of Wage Range Transparency bills (HB649/SB52), Lt. Gov. Miller and Secretary Wu also welcomed Maryland Latinos Unidos Executive Director Dr. Gabriela Lemus and Pandora’s Box owner Monesha Phillips to highlight the urgent need to take action to close the earnings gap for women of color in the state.

“This is an issue of basic fairness – and this is an issue of economic strength. Our call for action is very simple: Let’s get equal pay for equal work,” said Lt. Gov. Miller. “Our administration has already taken vital steps to improve pay for working women. By improving transparency, we will be able to better understand why the gender pay gap persists in Maryland and what further steps are necessary to fully eliminate the pay gap. Equity is more than a talking point for our administration – it’s a governing philosophy.”

"As our report shows, women across Maryland experience a persistent wage gap," said Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Portia Wu. "The Maryland Department of Labor is committed to addressing this problem by providing greater opportunities and enforcing our state’s wage laws. Greater pay transparency is a critical part of the solution.” 

The Maryland Department of Labor’s report details the earnings gaps for women in Maryland, provides a county-by-county breakdown of data across the sta​​te, and compares Maryland’s numbers to those of other states. A few of the most significant findings include that women in Maryland earn $.86 for every dollar that non-Hispanic white men earn, which is a smaller earnings gap than in 46 other states. 

According to the report, the wage gap increases for women of color. For every dollar that a non-Hispanic white man earns:

  • Latinas in Maryland earn $.50, which is the fourth largest gap in state-by-state rankings;
  • Black women in Maryland earn $.67;
  • White women in Maryland earn  $.79; and
  • Asian women earn $.86.
“SB525 is a simple solution with major impact. Wage range transparency will help level the playing field for all Maryland job seekers by shedding light on the expected salary range for different positions,” said Senator Ariana Kelly. “This empowers potential employees with essential information and will help close Maryland’s persistent wage gap for women and people of color.”

“Wage range transparency is a tool to address the wage gap and position women of color to accrue and protect wealth for future generations,” said Delegate Jennifer White Holland.

"That’s a lot of money that could make an enormous difference over a Latina’s lifetime and that of her family’s," said Maryland Latinos Unidos Executive Director Dr. Gabriela Lemus. "Because if we don’t intercede early enough, she will likely never be allowed to retire, and she is made vulnerable to a lifetime of poverty."

“I view it as my personal responsibility to be a business owner who advocates for changes that make our cities and state more fair and equitable places to live– and do business,” said Pandora’s Box owner Monesha Phillips. “Requiring pay range transparency for all businesses is a simple step that can help address this pay gap and make an impact on communities of color and for women as whole.”

A complete copy of the report is available from the Maryland Department of Labor.

The Department of Labor strives to create an equitable and inclusive Maryland where all residents have the opportunities and resources to attain financial stability, reach their career potential, and contribute to their communities; where businesses have access to capital and the skilled workforce they need to succeed; where workplaces are safe and well-regulated; and where the economy is resilient and growing. For updates and information, follow Labor on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and visit our website.

Jamie Mangrum