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Pay Equity & Discrimination

About Pay Equity & Discrimination

Women are almost half of the workforce. They are the equal, if not main, breadwinner in four out of ten families. They receive more college and graduate degrees than men. Yet, on average, women continue to earn considerably less than men. In 2013, female full-time workers made only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 22 percent. Women, on average, earn less than men in virtually every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women to calculate an earnings ratio.

In 2013, female full-time workers made only 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 22 percent.

IWPR tracks the gender wage gap over time in a series of fact sheets updated annually. According to our research, if change continues at the same slow pace as it has done for the past fifty years, it will take almost fifty years—or until 2058—for women to finally reach pay parity. IWPR’s annual fact sheet on the gender wage gap by occupation shows that women earn less than men in almost any occupation. IWPR’s Status of Women in the States project tracks the gender wage gap across states. IWPR’s project on sex and race discrimination in the workplace shows that outright discrimination in pay, hiring, or promotions continues to be a significant feature of working life.

Pay equity may also be impacted by other more subtle factors than workplace discrimination. IWPR’s research shows that, irrespective of the level of qualification, jobs predominantly done by women pay less on average than jobs predominantly done by men. Women have made tremendous strides during the last few decades by moving into jobs and occupations previously done almost exclusively by men, yet during the last decade there has been very little further progress in the gender integration of work. This persistent occupational segregation is a significant contributor to the lack of significant progress in closing the wage gap. According to a recent regression analysis of federal data by IWPR, the poverty rate for working women would be cut in half if women were paid the same as comparable men.

IWPR, in collaboration with The WAGE Project, Inc., examined consent decree remedies for sex and race discrimination in the workplace. Consent decrees are court approved settlements of law suits where the defendant does not admit guilt but agrees to the implementation of a set of measures to remedy and prevent future occurrence of potentially unlawful practices. In employment discrimination cases, in addition to individual relief (such as monetary damages for the person(s) who brought the discrimination claim), consent decrees typically mandate organizational remedies such as sexual harassment training, the introduction of new grievance procedures, supervisory training or revised performance management, and reward schemes. Click here for more information.

 

Resources

The Gender Wage Gap: 2013 | Fact Sheet

The Wage Gap by Occupation: 2013 | Fact Sheet

Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope | Report

To see our experts on this and other initiatives, click here.

Visit our external resources page for links to more information on this topic.

Latest Reports from IWPR

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Brief Of Amicus Curiae The Institute for Women's Policy Research in Support of Respondents
by The Institute for Women's Policy Research (January 2011)

IWPR submits this brief in support of Respondents who are seeking affirmance of the order of class certification generally, and specifically, certification under Rule 23(b)(2). Title VII is a remedial statute providing “make whole relief,” including injunctive relief, to those subjected to discrimination in the workplace.

 

The Gender Wage Gap 2009 (Updated September 2010)
by Robert Drago, PhD, and Claudia Williams (September 2010)

The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings, was 77.0 for full-time, year-round workers in 2009, essentially unchanged from 77.1 in 2008. (This means the gender wage gap for full-time year-round workers is now 22.9 percent.) This is below the peak of 77.8 percent in 2007.

 
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Separate and Not Equal? Gender Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap
by Ariane Hegewisch, Hannah Leipmann, Jeffrey Hayes, and Heidi Hartmann (September 2010)

 

Separate and Not Equal? Gender Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap
by Ariane Hegewisch, Hannah Liepmann, Jeffrey Hayes, and Heidi Hartmann (August 2010)

Occupational gender segregation is a strong feature of the US labor market. While some occupations have become increasingly integrated over time, others remain highly dominated by either men or women. Our analysis of trends in overall gender segregation shows that, after a considerable move towards more integrated occupations in the 1970s and 1980s, progress has completely stalled since the mid 1990s. Occupational segregation is a concern to policy makers for two reasons: it is inefficient economically, preventing able people from moving into occupations where they could perform well and that would satisfy them more than the ones open to them. And occupational segregation is a major cause for the persistent wage gap. Our analysis confirms that average earnings tend to be lower the higher the percentage of female workers in an occupation, and that this relationship is strongest for the most highly skilled occupations, such as medicine or law. Yet this is also a strong feature of jobs requiring little formal education and experience, increasing the likelihood of very low earnings for women working in female-dominated, low-skilled occupations such as childcare.

#C377, 16 pages
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The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation
by Ariane Hegewisch and Hannah Liepman (March 2010)

The gender wage gap and occupational segregation – men primarily working in occupations done by other men, and women primarily working with other women – are persistent features of the US labor market. During 2009, median weekly earnings for female full-time workers were $657, compared with $819 per week for men, a gender wage ratio of 80.2 percent (or a gender wage gap of 19.8 percent). Women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly all occupations, whether they work in occupations predominantly done by women, occupations predominantly done by men, or occupations with a more even mix of men and women. Four of ten women (39.7 percent, down from 43.6 percent in 2008) work in traditionally female occupations, and slightly more than four of ten male workers (43.6 percent, down from 46.1 percent in 2008) work in traditionally male occupations.1 Typically, male dominated occupations pay more than female dominated occupations at similar skill levels. Therefore, tackling occupational segregation is an important part of tackling the gender wage gap.

#C350a, Fact Sheet, 9 pages
$5.00
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The Workforce Investment Act and Women's Progress: Does WIA Funded Training Reinforce Sex Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap?
by Ariane Hegewisch and Helen Luyri (January 2010)

#C372, Briefing Paper, 8 pages
$5.00
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The Workforce Investment Act and Women’s Progress: Does WIA Funded Training Reinforce Sex Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap?
by Ariane Hegewisch, Helen Luyri (December 2009)

#C72, Briefing Paper, 8 pages
$5.00
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Still a Man’s Labor Market: The Long-Term Earnings Gap
by (February 2008)

This Research-in-Brief summarizes Still A Man’s Labor Market: The Long-Term Earnings Gap, a report by Stephen J. Rose, Rose Economic Consulting, and Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), published by IWPR in 2004. The report uses data from a 15-year longitudinal study (from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics) and shows that over that period women earned 62 percent less than men, or only 38 cents for every dollar men earned. This is less than half of the more conventional measure of the pay gap based on year-round earnings of full-time workers for a single year, which stands at 23 percent, or 77 cents for every male dollar earned. This new measure shows the costs over time for women and their families of the continued unequal division of family labor, with women having to make most of the adjustments of time in the labor market to perform family work. The report provides a detailed analysis of the gendered patterns in the labor market, showing that women are much more likely than men to have persistently low earnings; that women and especially men continue to work disproportionately in occupations where the majority of workers are of their own sex; that across the board men’s jobs involve longer working hours than women’s jobs, but that the pay premium for male jobs far exceeds the additional hours worked. The report also shows that over the period studied women were more likely to experience growth in earnings than men, but the earnings gap remained large.

 

Memo to John Roberts: The Gender Wage Gap is Real
by Heidi Hartmann,PhD, Barbara Gault,PhD, and Erica Williams (August 2005)

Equal pay and the wage gap have become central issues in discussions of John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court. Roberts authored documents in 1983 and 1984 suggesting he did not believe that that there was a gender pay gap or that women experienced pay discrimination, and voicing opposition to proposed actions to promote pay equity, including the Equal Rights Amendment and comparable worth remedies. For example, one memo referred to “the purported gender gap,” while another discussed “perceived problems” of gender bias, and another called comparable worth policies “highly objectionable” and “staggeringly pernicious.”1 Census Bureau data show that the gender pay gap was quite real in the 1980’s, and persists today, even among men and women with comparable education levels.

#C362, Fact Sheet, 3 pages
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State-by-State Rankings on Women's Economic Status: Data on the Wage Gap and Women's Poverty
by (October 2004)

 
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Women and the Economy: Recent Trends in Job Loss, Labor Force Participation, and Wages
by Heidi Hartmann, Vicky Lovell and Misha Werschkul (September 2004)

In the months since the official end of the recession in November 2001, women’s employment has returned to pre-recession levels, but the lack of job growth in this period means millions of jobs for women are missing. At the same time, the long-term increase in women’s labor force participation has stalled, and the gender wage gap has increased.

#B245, 6 pages
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Still a Man's Labor Market: The Long-Term Earnings Gap
by Stephen J. Rose, Ph. D. and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. (February 2004)

Many argue that women’s prospects in the labor market have steadily increased and that any small remaining gap in earnings between women and men is not significant. They see the remaining differences as resulting from women’s own choices. Others believe that with women now graduating from college at a higher rate than men and with the economy continuing its shift toward services, work and earnings differences between women and men may disappear entirely.

#C355, Report, 46 pages
$15.00
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The Gender Wage Gap: Progress of the 1980s Fails to Carry Through
by Heidi Hartmann, PhD, and Vicky Lovell, PhD (October 2003)

The gender wage gap is much narrower now than it was at the start of the revolutionary decade of the 1960s, when long-standing barriers to women's educational achievement and employment success began to be dismantled and the first of a series of critical equal employment opportunity standards were enacted by Congress. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the ratio of women’s to men’s earnings was 76.6 in 2002, for full-time workers employed year-round. The comparable figure in 1960 was 60.7.

#C353, Fact Sheet, 3 pages
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The Gender Gap in Pension Coverage: What Does the Future Hold?(Final Report)
by Lois Shaw, Ph.D. and Catherine Hill, Ph.D. (December 2001)

This report documents pension coverage among male and female employees and examines voluntary and involuntary reasons why women and men do not participate in pension plans. The good news is that women are participating in pension plans in greater numbers, and, for women working full-time, near equality with men has been achieved. Part-time workers (who are disproportionately women), however, remain much less likely to participate in employer-sponsored pension plans. Less than a third of part-time workers participate in a pension plan. The largest difference in participation between female and male employees occurs for older workers (aged 45- 64), with 35 percent of women saying they work too few hours to participate in their company’s plan compared with 20 percent of men. Overall, older female employees are less likely to expect to have a pension in retirement from any source than are older male workers; 36 percent of male employees lack a pension from any employer compared with 44 percent of female employees.

#D447, Report, 22 pages
$10.00
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The Gender Gap in Pension Coverage: What Does the Future Hold?
by Lois Shaw, PhD and Catherine Hill, PhD (May 2001)

This report documents pension coverage among male and female employees and examines voluntary and involuntary reasons why women and men do not participate in pension plans. The good news is that women are participating in pension plans in greater numbers and, for women working full-time, near equality with men has been achieved. Part-time workers (who are disproportionately women), however, remain much less likely to participate in employer- sponsored pension plans. Less than a third of part-time workers participate in a pension plan. The largest difference in participation between female and male employees occurs for older workers (aged 45-64), with 35 percent of women saying they work too few hours to participate in their company’s plan compared with 20 percent of men. Overall, older female employees are less likely to expect to have a pension in retirement from any source than are older male workers; 36 percent of male employees lack a pension from any employer compared with 44 percent of female employees.

#E507, 20 pages
$10.00
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The Gender Gap in Pension Coverage: Women Working Full-Time Are Catching Up, But Part-Time Workers Have Been Left Behind
by Lois Shaw, Ph.D., and Catherine Hill, Ph.D. (March 2001)

The good news is that women are participating in pension plans in greater numbers than ever before. Based on data from the Pension Topical Module of the Survey of Income and Program Participation collected in 1995 by the Bureau of Census, IWPR found that 60 percent of full-time female workers participate in a pension plan, compared with 62 percent of full-time male workers. But bad news still abounds.

#E506, Research-in-Brief, 3 pages
$5.00
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New and Stronger Remedies Are Needed to Reduce Gender Based Wage Discrimination
by Heidi Hartmann (June 2000)

Testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Part of a hearing on Examining Gender-Based Wage Discrimination. Reviews scholarly literature and cites IWPR research to argue that pay equity remedies are needed to reduce the gender wage gap. Eliminating wage discrimination against women could reduce family poverty by one half.

 

The Gender Wage Gap Earnings Ratio Between Women and Men Employed Full-Time, Year-Round, 1997
by April Shaw (January 2000)

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s ongoing research project The Status of Women in the States measures women’s status in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. One component of this project is the calculation of the gender wage gap. This table presents the results of this state-by-state calculation.

#C348W, Fact Sheet, 1 page
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Why Increase the Minimum Wage?
by Heidi Hartmann (October 1999)

Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Educatoin and the Workforce. Argues that increasing the federal minimum wage and benefit levels in accordance with cost of living increases will reduce poverty of women and their families. Available by mail in limited quantities. E-mail iwpr [at] iwpr [dot] org to place an order.

 

Equal Pay for Working Families
by (May 1999)

(Based on IWPR Report, Equal Pay for Working Families, by Heidi Hartmann, PhD, Katherine Allen, and Christine Owens)

 
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