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The case for paying female retail workers at least $25,000


Even at the mall or a discount store, where women are courted and catered to, they are paid less than men. Women in US retail jobs earn on average $4 an hour less than men, or 72 cents for every dollar men make, according to a new report by Demos, a liberal nonprofit public policy organization. The overall pay gap for women in the US is around 80 cents.

Women, who hold 48.7% of US retail jobs, represent 55.4% of the low-wage jobs, Demos said. Last year, a report by insight agency 24/7 Wall St. found retail sales to be the second worst occupation in terms of pay gap, right after insurance: women in retail earn less, and are less likely to sell expensive, commission-generating items such as cars.

The wage gap in retailing costs US women $40.8 billion in lost wages annually, according to Demos, which estimated that 1.3 million women, or one in five women in US retail jobs, earns at or near poverty levels. Retailing is important because it accounts for more jobs than any other sector, and it’s growing. Median pay for the job is $10.29 an hour, or $21,410 a year, according to government data, with the lowest paid earning below $8.09 an hour and only the highest 10% paid more than $18.73.