The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Fall 2013)
You’ve probably heard that men are paid more than women are paid over their lifetimes. But what does that mean? Are women paid less because they choose lower-paying jobs? Is it because more women work part time than men do? Or is it because women tend to be the primary caregivers for their children? AAUW’s The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap succinctly addresses these issues and explains the pay gap in the United States; how it affects women of all ages, races, and education levels; and what you can do to close it.
Here are the facts:
- The pay gap hasn’t budged in a decade.
In 2012, as in 2002, among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid 77 percent of what men were paid.
- Women in every state experience the pay gap, but some states are worse than others.
The best place in the United States for pay equity is Washington, D.C., where women were paid 90 percent of what men were paid in 2012. At the other end of the spectrum is Wyoming, the worst state in the country for pay equity, where women were paid just 64 percent of what men were paid.
- The pay gap is worse for women of color.
Compared with non-Hispanic white men, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian women were paid 66 percent, African American women were paid 64 percent, American Indian/Alaska Native women were paid 60 percent, and Hispanic women were paid just 53 percent.
- Women face a pay gap in nearly every occupation.
From elementary and middle school teachers to computer programmers, women are paid less than men in female-dominated, gender-balanced, and male-dominated occupations.
- The pay gap grows with age.
Among younger workers, women are paid about 90 percent of what men are paid. From around age 35 through retirement, women are typically paid 75–80 percent of what men are paid.
- While more education is an effective tool for increasing earnings, it is not an effective tool against the gender pay gap.
At every level of academic achievement, women’s median earnings are less than men’s earnings, and in some cases, the gender pay gap is larger at higher levels of education.
- The pay gap also exists among women without children.
AAUW’s Graduating to a Pay Gap found that among full-time workers one year after college graduation — nearly all of whom were childless — women were paid just 82 percent of what their male counterparts were paid.