The Gender Wage Gap Still Exists

Women still make 77 cents to a man’s dollar, earning less for working the same jobs and the same number of hours. Unsurprisingly, black and Latina women have the widest pay gaps, and are much more likely to work low-wage jobs.

In the 20 most common occupations for women in every job, except bookkeeping and auditing clerks, women earned less, according to the report. The same held true for traditional occupations for men, apart from stock clerks and orders fillers.

More than twice as many women, 5.52 million, as men, 2.3 million, work in occupations paying poverty wages for a family of four, along with four out of 10 Hispanic women.

Hispanic women have the widest gender wage gap, according to the report. Their median weekly wage of $518, is 55 percent of what white men earn, compared to black women whose median earnings are $595, or 64 percent of a white man’s wages.

Author: has written 5284 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
Return to: Homepage | Blog Index

25 Responses

  1. Michael Leuchtenburg
    Michael Leuchtenburg April 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

    Do you know if anyone’s tried to tease out the impact of different life choices – in particular childrearing – on this wage gap? Men and women in the US make different choices about how to approach work, which likely explains some of the disparity.

    The article says they’re comparing “apples to apples” and that the studied people all work full time, but currently working full time isn’t the same as having similar work histories in re: taking time away from career for kids, which women tend to do more than men.

  2. Amblingalong
    Amblingalong April 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm |

    Do you know if anyone’s tried to tease out the impact of different life choices – in particular childrearing – on this wage gap? Men and women in the US make different choices about how to approach work, which likely explains some of the disparity.

    Yep! When you adjust for education and career path, you end up with a very small disparity- for example, childless women under thirty make more than childless men with the same age, education and career by about 7%.

    But that doesn’t mean the larger pay gap isn’t a problem, because things like access to education, career path, and childcare obligations are determined by societal expectations which disproportionately impact women. Just because we can explain most of the wage gap doesn’t mean its not a problem, it just means its a more complicated problem then simply “evil boss no like pay women money.”

  3. Kierra
    Kierra April 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm |

    childless women under thirty make more than childless men with the same age, education and career by about 7%.

    Do you have a link for that study? The only one I’ve heard about that got a higher pay for women (I can’t remember if it specified childless or not) under 30 didn’t control for education (which is huge since women are now getting more bachelor’s degrees than men are).

  4. Your Mom Uses Birth Control
    Your Mom Uses Birth Control April 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm |

    I think the issue will become more pronounced now that women are out-educating men, graduating from college and grad school more frequently. They’re going to be better trained, and if they’re still not paid equally, well…there’s something hell hath-ing dissimilar fury like a woman scorned.

  5. Tony
    Tony April 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm |

    The only study I’ve heard of is this (http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2015274,00.html). But it looks only at women who are 1) Young 2) Single 3) Childless, and 4) Lives in one of the 147 of 150 biggest cities

    I mean, if you prune out the vast majority of people, yeah you can get the statistics to say what you want. Using this as some sort of refutation to the statistic that you get when you include all working men and women (formally working, mind you!) is just ludicruos and the report’s authors would probably be the first to acknowledge that.

    And Kierra’s comment is right on point:

    The figures come from James Chung of Reach Advisors, who has spent more than a year analyzing data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. He attributes the earnings reversal overwhelmingly to one factor: education. For every two guys who graduate from college or get a higher degree, three women do.

    Plus, a lot of this is not because young women today are so empowered and earning mountains of wealth with their degrees (which often carry heavy debt burdens), but because young men, especially young men of color, are struggling so much.

  6. T
    T April 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm |

    Other than the shock factor why are Black and Hispanic women always compared to white men, when they are compared to Black and Hispanic men they earn around 90% of what men earn when you use the 2010 us census data (Table P-36. Full-Time, Year-Round Workers by Median Income and Sex). Seems like racism rather than sexism is a lot bigger issue for those groups when it comes to earning power.

  7. matlun
    matlun April 21, 2012 at 3:29 am |

    Is “Women still make 77 cents to a man’s dollar, earning less for working the same jobs and the same number of hours” really true?

    It sounds very unrealistic that you have that large a difference for doing the exact same job.

    Checking the linked article I read it as two separate statements
    1. In most common occupations women still make less than men doing the same job for an equal amount of hours
    2. Overall they earn 77 cents for each dollar made annually by men

    With this reading it seems to match other figures I have seen, but it would be quite different from the statement in the OP.

  8. Kristen J.
    Kristen J. April 21, 2012 at 1:39 pm |

    @Matlun,

    The comma separates the participial clause. Essentially, you should read the clauses separately, but with the same subject. I.e., she said exactly what you think the study says.

  9. valentifan69
    valentifan69 April 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm |

    Is “Women still make 77 cents to a man’s dollar… really true?

    No. It’s all lies. All these people care about is putting out a press release that’ll get headlines.

    The stat is a comparison of median weekly wages – they calculate a $/hr for each person, and compare the middlemost man and the middlemost woman. There’s no reason any honest or numerate person would interpret that as women make x cents to a man’s dollar, or would be able to read back from the headline to the calculation behind it.

    If you wanted to make an fair cent to dollar comparison you’d have to sum total earnings and divide by total hours, which’d give you earnings controling for time spent earning them for the two genders, and then compare these. But no-one ever does that.

  10. matlun
    matlun April 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm |

    @Kristen J: Ok, my reading comprehension that was off, then.

    I tried to check what I believed to be the study on IWPR’s site, but that seems to say that women are making 82.2% cents to the dollar, so I maybe I am looking at the wrong study. (The figure was 77 cents on the dollar in the referenced article and the OP)

    So all around I found this a bit confusing…

  11. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  12. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  13. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  14. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  15. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  16. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  17. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  18. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  19. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  20. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  21. konkonsn
    konkonsn April 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Yeah, let’s split hairs over how much the discrepancy really is and question whether this is all “real or not” instead of discussing how this is STILL AN ISSUE in 2012 and why.

  22. Henry
    Henry April 22, 2012 at 1:40 am |

    why don’t all of you not believing this read the linked article:

    She added that the reasons are varied but discrimination law cases show that women are less likely to be selected for the best jobs, they get hired at a lower rate and don’t get equivalent raises to men over the years.

    Thus women in the same job are not getting the pay raises men get, or other financial “upgrades” you see within what on the surface look like the same jobs (I suspect bonuses come into play here too).

  23. Alara Rogers
    Alara Rogers April 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    There have also been studies that show that when women ask for raises, they don’t get them as often as men do when men ask.

    For years we were told the problem was that we don’t assertively demand raises. Trouble is, when we do, we don’t get them… in fact we’re more likely to get fired for doing that.

    We are also less likely to get hired for a position if we lack the paper qualifications. That is, when a position requires “college degree” but in fact it really doesn’t, that’s just a filter, the interviewer is much more likely to decide that a man without a college degree is a good fit for the position nonetheless and is worth hiring on his other merits, whereas a woman is not.

    Finally, there is active discrimination against mothers. Sight unseen, knowing nothing about her work ethic, employers discriminate against women just for being mothers. Studies where identical resumes from women were sent out to multiple companies, except that in the section on “Outside Interests and Hobbies” half of them claimed she was in the PTO or did other obviously parent-related activities, and the other half gave her non-parenting-related activities (volunteering at the SPCA, playing amateur volleyball, member of a book club, whatever), the woman who was clearly a mother was not given an offer or was given an offer at a lesser salary much more often than the woman who was not clearly a mother… even though their resumes were identical otherwise.

    This has nothing to do directly with a woman’s life choices or work ethic. A woman with a househusband who does all of the parenting while she brings home the bacon will still fall under this umbrella the moment her employer realizes she has kids. A woman who works 60-80 hour weeks and employs her oldest teenager to watch her younger kids so she can do this will still fall under this umbrella. And a woman who works her ass off, but has kids, will be unfairly compared to a woman who is childless, but is taking lots of time off to care for an elderly parent… because caring for an elderly parent doesn’t make you a *mother*, and we all know, mothers never work overtime and they don’t even work 8 hour days and they’re always out sick and they expect you to cover for them and and and… most of the time it’s not true, but it’s what “everyone knows”, so it affects hiring, firing and promoting decisions.

  24. Veronica
    Veronica April 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

    The National Women’s Law Center has a ton of research on this topic. On this page, you can search by state to see specifics of how this plays out across the country. And this info is apples-to-apples, comparing women who work FT to men who work FT in specific industry.

    Also, who knew about the Equal Pay App Challenge? GenderGapApp won.

  25. -That-Guy
    -That-Guy April 25, 2012 at 11:16 pm |

    Interestingly enough, I have some input from the business world. My mother is the Senior Vice President (Basically means she runs things) of a advertisement agency catering to clients like Mars Incorporated, Gatorade, Tempur-Pedic, Acura, and cricKet. She assigns the salaries for the vast majority of the people who work for the company, many of whom are from the Middle East and India, or Europe.

    A number of her male employees have been fired or quit since she came into office, due to their unwillingness to work under a woman, or their flat out ineptitude. Death threats have been made and drama has occurred. One of them threatened to throw her out a window. Those that remain are mostly of the variety that actually do their jobs.

    You might be wondering where I’m going with all this. It was recently revealed to me that my mother, though she knows for a fact that she makes just as much money as any of her male counterparts in the industry, pays her female employees significantly less than those males that remain. Because they will take less, as someone above has already mentioned. She has always done this, in all of her forty some-odd years in business, to all of her hundreds of female employees. Very few of them have come to ask her for a raise, and most of those that do are satisfied with a flat out refusal. She does not do this just to women, it’s just that she never gives out promotions on the first request, and never to those that don’t deserve them.

    Just thought I’d throw that out there, as another perspective.

Comments are closed.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.