Gender Pay Gap Shortchanges Women $500 Billion Annually

Biggest Gaps among Financial Managers, Physicians and Surgeons

AAUW Launches Free Digital Course to Train 10 Million Women in Salary Negotiation

WASHINGTON, DC – Working women lose out on $500 billion a year because of a persistent gender pay gap, with women paid only 80 cents, on average, for every dollar paid to a man. The American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) annual report, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, found that the jobs with the biggest collective gender gaps, where women in the profession collectively lose out on billions of dollars annually, are:

  • Financial managers, $19.6 billion (65 percent pay ratio)
  • Physicians and surgeons, $19.5 billion (71 percent pay ratio)
  • Accountants and auditors, $17.3 billion (78 percent pay ratio)
  • First-line supervisors of retail sales workers, $14.8 billion (74 percent pay ratio)
  • Registered nurses, $12.5 billion (92 percent pay ratio)

The only gap favoring women among the 114 occupations analyzed by AAUW was among wholesale and retail buyers where women were paid $235 million more than men. The professions with the smallest gaps favoring men were food preparation and serving workers ($26 million, 99 percent pay ratio), writers and authors ($76 million, 98 percent pay ratio), and pharmacists ($253 million, 98 percent pay ratio).

“While the nation’s unemployment rate is down, and the number of women working is up, the wage gap is sadly remaining stagnant,” said Kim Churches, chief executive officer of AAUW. “It’s unacceptable. There is no gender differentiation when it comes to quality, skills, and talent.”

AAUW’s Work Smart Free One-Hour Online Salary Negotiation Tool

According to The Simple Truth, one of the key ways to help narrow the pay gap is by encouraging women to better negotiate their wages and benefits.  To help with that, the organization is launching AAUW Work Smart Onlinea free one-hour course designed to train women in salary negotiation skills.

The course was created with the support of the Coca-Cola Foundation, LUNA Bar, and Mooneen Lecce Giving Circle.

Work Smart Online is the newest feature of AAUW’s commitment to train 10 million women in salary negotiation by 2022. Salary negotiations are key to AAUW’s multipronged approach to closing the gender pay gap, along with advancing fair pay laws and improving employer practices.

In August, AAUW kicked off a one million-woman-salary-training initiative in Kansas and Missouri, with the Women’s Foundation and Kansas City Mayor Sly James. AAUW’s Work Smart has also launched programs in Boston, Tempe, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Long Beach, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide workshops in those communities. Workshops have been held in 49 states as well as Puerto Rico.

Key Wage Gap Facts and Figures

The Simple Truth analysis is based on the 2017 U.S. Census data. AAUW’s analysis found that:

  • The gender pay gap exists for every age group – it is smallest among women ages 20 to 24; with these women making 90 percent of what men make, but the gap grows with age women ages 25 to 54 are paid between 78 to 89 percent or what men make, and women ages 55 to 65 are paid 78 percent of what men make.
  • In 2017, median annual earnings in the United States for full-time workers were $41,977 for women, compared to $52,146 for men, a ratio of 80 cents on the dollar.
  • The pay gap varies by race, ethnicity, and other demographics:
    • Latinas are paid 53 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
    • Black women are paid 61 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
    • Mothers are paid 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.
  • The gap varies across the country — with the largest gap in earnings in Louisiana, where women are paid 69 cents on the dollar and the smallest in California where women are paid 89 cents on the dollar.
  • The pay gap contributes to women’s poverty: 13 percent of American women ages 18–64 live below the federal poverty level, compared with 10 percent of men. After age 65, 11 percent of women live in poverty, compared with 8 percent of men.
  • If the gap narrows at the same rate of change since 2001, it will not close until 2106.

Pay Gap by State

Click here for a state-by-state map and the state median annual earnings ratios between men and women working full-time, year-round, ranked from smallest to largest pay gap. Below is how AAUW categorizes state equal pay laws, by strength.

Strong: California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington

Moderate: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Weak: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia

None: Alabama, Mississippi


More information about AAUW’s salary negotiation workshops, including upcoming events in states and online, is available here. More information on AAUW’s advocacy work at the federal, state, and local level can be found here.


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university members. Learn more and join us at