In Wyoming, as in much of the United States, it is predominately women who are the head of single parent households. In seventeen of Wyoming’s twenty-three counties, a household consisting of a single mother and one young child cannot survive on the mother’s earnings alone. [ (Wyoming Workforce, 2007) ] Correcting the gender wage disparity that currently exists in Wyoming is an integral step in the reduction of poverty as well as stimulating the economy.
While there are many reasons that poverty levels vary from county to county in any state, the population distribution would be a consideration. In counties where there is a higher incidence of single parent families one might expect that there would be a higher poverty rate. In counties where these single parent families are headed by women the risk of poverty increases.
Women in Wyoming earn approximately 63 cents for every dollar earned by a man. [ (Wyoming Workforce, 2007) ] While 27 cents does not sound like a great deal of money it can be a significant amount over time. For example, a man making $10.00 an hour would make $20,800 annually. For a woman in Wyoming the same job would pay $6.30 an hour or $13, 104 a year. Gender wage differences are evident in almost all industries in Wyoming. [ (Wyoming Labor Market Information, 2007) ]
I would recommend a two step approach to even out the gender wage difference. I would first recommend that educational funds be targeted to single female head of households. Educational opportunities will prepare women for jobs currently held only by men.
Currently there are a finite number of jobs available in Wyoming. However, as workers are better educated and trained more industry could be attracted to the area which would, in turn, create new jobs. This is demonstrated in the attached production possibilities curve. Figure 2.
In addition, I would recommend that salaries for jobs predominately held by women, such as nurses and...