Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show on average women working in California make 89 percent of what men earn. That’s the third highest in the country and above the national average of 82 percent.
Kate Karpilo is with the California Center for Research on Women and Families. She says a high number of union jobs as well as a high number of college graduates contribute to women’s higher earnings. So does the availability of government jobs.
"If you have a high percentage of government jobs, whether they are local, state or federal, those jobs tend to pay decently," she says. "They tend to be secure. And women tend to work for government."
But Karpilow says state polices are also a factor.
"California is a progressive state," she says. "We were the first in the nation to pass the paid family leave law for workers. And that sends a strong message that women have a place in the job sector."
Since 2003 California women have made at least 85 percent of what men earn. The percentage peaked in 2005 at just above 90 percent.