Tuesday, Montana’s gender pay gap was spotlighted at the Capitol. It’s National Equal Pay Day. And Montana women are earning 67 percent of what men earn. Montana is ranked 39th in the nation for gender pay equality. Nationally, women workers earn 71 percent of men’s median earnings.
Governor Steve Bullock created the Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force by executive order in 2013, to address this topic.
Montana Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner Pam Bucy says it could take a long time to reach full pay equality, but it's important to keep talking about it.
She spoke at the Capitol Tuesday.
"We’ve lowered it 1 percentage point, so that's moving the dial. But even more importantly, I think we have change the discussion. When Governor Bullock first announced the creation of the task force, we had newspaper editorials questioning if there was actually a wage gap in Montana. You do not see that anymore."
Governor Bullock says 2015 legislation that would have chipped away at the pay gap failed to become law because of political gamesmanship by Republicans.
Bullock’s main opponent in this year's race for the governor’s seat, Republican Greg Gianforte, a software entrepreneur from Bozeman, says he is looking forward to reviewing legislation on this issue and hearing input from the business community.
Gianforte campaign spokesperson Aaron Flint.
"Greg Gianforte actually thinks women should get more pay. Greg Gianforte thinks we need equal opportunity, not equal outcomes."
The Equal Pay for Equal Work Task Force meets next at Montana State University on May second and third for their 2016 Equal Pay Summit. It is free and open to the public.