Tuesday was Equal Pay Day--the day a woman, on average, would have to work beyond the New Year to match the average annual salary of a man the previous year. According to the American Association of University Women, the average salary of a woman in Illinois is 21 percent less than the average salary of a man. While that doesn’t account for the types of jobs men and women are doing, Gov. Pat Quinn says there’s still a wage gap.
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One way to fix that, according to Quinn, is to raise the minimum wage. “Overnight, we can help begin to close the gap by making sure all those women across Illinois who work so hard every day, who come at night and take care of their families, that they get a pay raise,” Quinn said. Quinn says women make up 60 percent of the state’s minimum wage workers. The state passed the Illinois Equal Pay Act in 2004, which prohibits employers with four or more workers from paying men and women differently for the same work. According to the governor’s office, the state has recovered more than $690,000 in back wages from employers that broke that law.