Equal Pay Day — the day that symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year — falls on April 2 this year. To mark the milestone, the National Partnership for Women and Families released an analysis of the pay gaps in individual states.

Utah continues to have one of the largest gender gaps in the country, based on the most recent data available from the U.S. Census.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)
(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

The new analysis says Utah in 2017 had the nation’s second-highest pay gap for women, of $14,997, behind Louisiana’s gap of $15,737.

In 2016, after foundering near the lowest rung of states for its pay gap between men and women — Utah had hit rock bottom, or at least was in a tie for it that year with Louisiana.

A study using 2016 data, released last year by the American Association of University Women, said women who worked full time and year-round in both states on average earned only 70 cents on the dollar compared with men.

Economists say Utah’s gap is wide for many reasons: Its women have more children than average, likely causing absences that hurt their tenure and experience. They also tend to work in lower-paying careers, have lower college graduation rates and suffer widespread gender discrimination in pay.

Another study last year found wages for Utah women have actually declined in recent years.

A battle plan released by the Salt Lake Chamber and the Women’s Leadership Institute urges Utah businesses to start with evaluating their gaps and publishing salary information for various roles and levels within a firm. Other strategies include flexible schedules and paid leave.

Additional coverage by The Salt Lake Tribune of Utah’s gender pay gap: