AAUW Reacts to U.S. Census Data on the Gender Wage Gap

September 12, 2012



Lisa Goodnight, goodnightl@aauw.org

Elizabeth Owens, owense@aauw.org


Pay Gap Still at 77 Cents, Should Be a Wake-up Call

WASHINGTON — The American Association of University Women (AAUW) today expressed disappointment over just-released census data that show no progress is being made to close the gender wage gap. The widely used statistic that women earn 77 cents, on average, for every dollar men earn was updated this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau. The pay gap, based on the 2011 Current Population Survey, remains at 23 cents.

“We’re not making any real progress — the gender wage gap essentially has not budged for a decade. And the problem is worse for African American women and Latinas,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “We hope that this news serves as a wake-up call. If we keep going at this pace, women will never earn the same amount that men earn for full-time, year-round work.”

AAUW has been at the forefront of research and advocacy on pay equity for many decades. This fall, AAUW will release new research on the pay gap that women face just one year after college graduation.

“Year after year, the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics release data showing that women working full time earn significantly less money than their male peers. AAUW research delves deeper and shows that even after controlling for education, occupation, work hours, and other factors that are known to affect earnings, an unexplained wage gap still exists,” said Christianne Corbett, the lead author of the forthcoming report.

AAUW has also led the charge for stronger pay equity legislation. AAUW lobbied hard during the fall of 2010 and again in the summer of 2012 for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which failed in procedural votes in both the Senate and House. As Hallman said in June, “When women are paid less, it hurts them and their families, and it undermines the U.S. economy. How lawmakers can turn down this commonsense economic policy is truly a mystery.” The White House continues to express broad support for the legislation.

“The new census numbers demonstrate that the pay gap is distressingly stagnant and quite frankly is here to stay if policy makers don’t take decisive action. Wishing the gap away won’t make it so, and blaming women’s choices has been thoroughly debunked,” said Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy and government relations. “Women who struggle every day with the effects of unfair wages will take their outrage to the polls. Legislators who’ve been blocking fair pay bills should be looking over their shoulders because voters will remember in November — and it’s women who will decide this election.”


By:   |   September 12, 2012