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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 2015, female full-time workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 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 2015, female full-time workers made only 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 20 percent.

IWPR tracks the gender wage gap over time in a series of fact sheets updated twice per year. According to our research, if change continues at the same slow pace as it has done for the past fifty years, it will take 44 years—or until 2059—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 report 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 be affected by the segregation of jobs by gender and other factors. 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. In some industries and occupations, like construction, there has been no progress in forty years. In middle-skill occupations workers in jobs mainly done by women earn only 66 percent of workers in jobs mainly done by men. This persistent occupational segregation is a primary 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.

 

Resources

The Gender Wage Gap and Public Policy | Briefing Paper
The Economic Impact of Equal Pay by State
| Fact Sheet
The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation 2015
| Fact Sheet
Women’s Median Earnings as a Percent of Men’s Median Earnings, 1960-2013 (Full-time, Year-round
Workers) with Projection for Pay Equity in 2059
| Quick Figures
How Equal Pay for Working Women would Reduce Poverty and Grow the American Economy
| Briefing Paper

Pay Secrecy and Wage Discrimination
| Quick Figures

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

Statusofwomendata.org | State-level data on women's Employment & Earnings

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

The Gender Wage Gap: 2015; Annual Earnings Differences by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity
by Ariane Hegewisch and Asha DuMonthier (September 2016)

The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings was 79.6 percent for full-time/year-round workers in 2015. This means the gender wage gap for full-time/year-round workers is 20.4 percent. The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings did not improve significantly during the last year, and has not seen a statistically significant annual increase since 2007. If the pace of change in the annual earnings ratio continues at the same rate as it has since 1960, it will take another 45 years, until 2059, for men and women to reach parity. Women’s median annual earnings in 2015 were $40,742 compared with $51,212 for men; both women’s and men’s full-time year-round earnings increased significantly between 2014 and 2015 (by 2.7 and 1.5 percent respectively).

 

Women’s Median Earnings as a Percent of Men’s Median Earnings, 1960-2015 (Full-time, Year-round Workers) with Projection for Pay Equity in 2059
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (September 2016)

 

Native American Women Saw the Largest Declines in Wages over the Last Decade among All Women
by Asha DuMonthier (September 2016)

Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) analysis of data from the American Community Survey finds that between 2004 and 2014, Native American women’s real median annual earnings for full-time, year-round work declined by 5.8 percent—more than three times as much as women’s earnings overall (Figure 1). Like Native American women, Black women and Hispanic women also saw their earnings fall substantially between 2004 and 2014, which includes the Great Recession and slow economic recovery (5.0 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively).

 

The Gender Patenting Gap
by Jessica Milli, Barbara Gault, Emma Williams-Baron, Jenny Xia, and Meika Berlan (July 2016)

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research reviewed and analyzed published data and literature on women and patenting, finding that women hold an extremely small share of patents, and that at the current rate of progress, gender equity is more than 75 years away. This briefing paper presents a snapshot of the data and related recommendations.

 

The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation 2015 and by Race and Ethnicity
by Ariane Hegewisch and Asha DuMonthier (April 2016)

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. Data for both women’s and men’s median weekly earnings for full-time work are available for 119 occupations. Across occupations the gender earnings ratio of women’s median weekly earnings to men’s ranges from just 52.5 percent (women at the median making about half as much as men who are ‘securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents’ ) to 111.2 percent (women making more than men as ‘wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products’). There is only one occupation—‘bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks’–where women have the same median weekly earnings as men.

 

Pathways to Equity: Narrowing the Wage Gap by Improving Women’s Access to Good Middle-Skill Jobs
by Ariane Hegewisch Marc Bendick Jr., Ph.D. Barbara Gault, Ph.D. Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. (March 2016)

This report addresses women’s access to well-paid, growing, middle-skill jobs (jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree). It documents sex segregation in middle-skill jobs, and discusses how gender integration of good jobs could both reduce skill-shortages and improve women’s economic security. The report focuses on middle-skilled “target” occupations in manufacturing, information technology, and transportation, distribution, and logistics that have high projected job openings and that typically employ few women. Using an innovative methodology based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net database, Marc Bendick, Ph.D., of Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc, joined IWPR researchers Ariane Hegewisch, Barbara Gault, Ph.D., and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. to identify lower paid predominantly female occupations that share many of the characteristics of the “target” occupations and can serve as “on-ramp” occupations to good middle-skill jobs for women seeking to improve their earnings, and employers looking to fill the vacancies. The report is part of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s Pathways to Equity: Women and Good Jobs initiative, funded by a grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation as part of its of its $250 million, five-year New Skills at Work initiative. For more information, visit www.womenandgoodjobs.org

 

The Gender Wage Gap: 2015; Earnings Differences by Race and Ethnicity
by Ariane Hegewisch and Asha DuMonthier (March 2016)

The gender wage gap for weekly full-time workers in the United States widened between 2014 and 2015. The median weekly earnings for full-time work increased for both women and men during 2015, but the increase was more substantial for men than women. In 2015, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 81.1 percent, a decrease of 1.4 percentage points since 2014, when the ratio was 82.5 percent. Women’s median weekly earnings for full-time work were $726 in 2015 compared with $895 for men. Controlling for inflation, women’s earnings increased by 0.9 percent, while men’s earnings increased by 2.6 percent since 2014.

 

The Gender Wage Gap and Public Policy
by Cynthia Costello, Ph.D. and Ariane Hegewisch, M.A. (February 2016)

Women’s earnings are crucial to their families’ economic well-being. Women are close to half of all employees in the United States, they are half of all workers with college degrees, and they are the co- or main breadwinners in close to two thirds of families with children,1 yet they persistently earn less than men. Whether the gender wage gap is measured based on annual, weekly or hourly earnings, within or across occupations, women’s median earnings are lower than men’s. If progress toward closing the gender wage gap continues at the same pace as during recent decades, women and men will not reach equal pay until 2058 (Hess et al. 2015). This briefing paper sets out the basic facts about the gender wage gap, summarizing data on earnings differences between women and men by race and ethnicity, education, and occupation. It then discusses reasons for the gender wage gap, its consequences for women and their families, and policies that can help to close it.

 

The Economic Impact of Equal Pay by State
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (February 2016)

Persistent earnings inequality for working women translates into lower lifetime pay for women, less income for families, and higher rates of poverty across the United States. In each state in the country, women experience lower earnings and higher poverty rates than men. The economic impact of this persistent pay inequality is far-reaching: if women in the United States received equal pay with comparable men, poverty for working women would be reduced by half and the U.S. economy would have added $482 billion (equivalent to 2.8 percent of 2014 GDP) to its economy. This fact sheet presents state-level data on the impact equal pay would have on poverty and each state’s economy.

 

The Best and Worst States Overall for Women in 2015
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (November 2015)

This Fact Sheet is based on findings from The Status of Women in the States: 2015, a comprehensive national report that presents and analyzes data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

 

The Gender Wage Gap: 2014
by Ariane Hegewisch and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. (September 2015)

The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings was 78.6 percent for full-time/year-round workers in 2014. This means the gender wage gap for full-time/year-round workers is 21.4 percent. Women’s median annual earnings in 2014 were $39,621 compared with $50,383 for men. Neither women’s nor men’s earnings significantly improved compared to 2013. If the pace of change in the annual earnings ratio continues at the same rate as it has since 1960, it will take another 45 years, until 2059, for men and women to reach parity.

 

Women’s Median Earnings as a Percent of Men’s Median Earnings, 1960-2014 (Full-time, Year-round Workers) with Projection for Pay Equity in 2059
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (September 2015)

If current trends continue, women will not see equal pay with men until 2059.

 

The Union Advantage for Women
by (August 2015)

This briefing paper presents an analysis of women’s union membership and the union wage and benefit advantage for women by state and by race/ethnicity. It is based on an analysis of the Current Population Survey. Wage and benefit data are for all workers covered by a union contract, irrespective of their membership in a union.

 

How the New Overtime Rule Will Help Women & Families
by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Hero Ashman, Jeffrey Hayes, Ph.D., and Hailey Nguyen (August 2015)

This report, a collaboration between the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and MomsRising, is an analysis of the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed change to the overtime threshold and how this change will affect working women. The report focuses on the 5.9 million workers who would be “newly covered” by the proposed increase and explores the differences in the impacts of the higher earnings threshold by sex, and among women by race/ethnicity, household type, and occupation.

 

The Status of Women in the States: 2015 (full report)
by Cynthia Hess, Ph.D., Jessica Mill, Ph.D., Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., Ariane Hegewisch, M. Phil., Yana Mayayeva, Stephanie Roman, Julie Anderson, M.A., and Justine Augeri (May 2015)

The Status of Women in the States: 2015 provides critical data to identify areas of progress for women in states across the nation and pinpoint where additional improvements are still needed. It presents hundreds of data points for each state across seven areas that affect women’s lives: political participation, employment and earnings, work and family, poverty and opportunity, reproductive rights, health and well-being, and violence and safety. For each of these topic areas except violence and safety, the report calculates a composite index, ranks the states from best to worst, and assigns a letter grade based on the difference between the state’s performance in that area and goals set by IWPR (e.g., no remaining wage gap or the proportional representation of women in political office). The report also tracks progress over time, covers basic demographic statistics on women, and presents additional data on a range of topics related to women’s status. In addition, it gives an overview of how women from various population groups fare, including women of color, young women, older women, immigrant women, women living with a same-sex partner, and women in labor unions. This report builds on IWPR’s long-standing work on The Status of Women in the States, a series of data analyses and reports that for nearly 20 years have provided data on women’s status nationally and for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Status of Women in the States reports have three main goals: 1) to analyze and disseminate information about women’s progress in achieving rights and opportunities; 2) to identify and measure the remaining barriers to equality; and 3) to provide baseline measures for monitoring women’s progress. The data presented in these reports can serve as a resource for advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders who seek to develop community investments, programs, and public policies that can lead to positive changes for women and families.

 

The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation 2014 and by Race and Ethnicity
by Ariane Hegewisch and Emily Ellis (April 2015)

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. Data for both women’s and men’s median weekly earnings for full-time work are available for 116 occupations; these include only one occupation—‘health practitioner support technologists and technicians’—in which women have exactly the same median weekly earnings as men, and one—‘stock clerks and order fillers’—where women earn slightly more than men. The occupation with the widest gap in earnings is ‘personal financial advisers,’ with a gender earnings ratio of just 61.3 percent. In 109 of the 116 occupations, the gender earnings ratio of women’s median weekly earnings to men’s is 0.95 or lower (that is, a wage gap of at least 5 cents per dollar earned by men); in 27 of these occupations the gender earnings ratio is lower than 0.75 (that is, a wage gap of more than 25 cents per dollar earned by men).

 

The Status of Women in the States: 2015 — Employment and Earnings
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (March 2015)

Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and their earnings are essential to the economic security of families across the nation. Yet, gender equality at work remains elusive. Women who work full-time, year-round still earn only 78 cents on the dollar compared with men, and during the last decade little improvement has been made in closing the gender wage gap. The glass ceiling persists, and occupational segregation—the concentration of women in some jobs and men in others—remains a stubborn feature of the U.S. labor market. These national trends show up in states across the nation. This report examines women’s earnings and the gender wage gap, women’s labor force participation, and the occupations and industries in which women work. It also considers areas where women have experienced progress toward gender equity in the workforce and places where progress has slowed or stalled.

 

The Gender Wage Gap: 2014; Earnings Differences by Race and Ethnicity
by Ariane Hegewisch, Emily Ellis, and Heidi Hartmann (March 2015)

The gender wage gap in the United States has not seen significant improvements in recent years and remains a reality for women across racial and ethnic groups. In 2014, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 82.5 percent, an increase of just 0.4 percentage points since 2013, when the ratio was 82.1 percent. Women’s median weekly earnings for full-time work were $719 compared with $871 for men. Once controlling for inflation, neither women’s nor men’s median earnings significantly increased between 2013 and 2014.

 

The Gender Wage Gap: 2013
by Ariane Hegewisch and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D. (September 2014)

The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings was 78.3 percent for full-time/year-round workers in 2013. This means the gender wage gap for full-time/year-round workers is 21.7 percent. Women’s median annual earnings in 2013 were $39,157 compared with $50,033 for men. Neither women’s nor men’s earnings significantly improved compared with 2012. If the pace of change in the annual earnings ratio continues at the same rate as it has since 1960, it will take another 45 years, until 2058, for men and women to reach parity.

 

Women’s Median Earnings as a Percent of Men’s Median Earnings, 1960-2013 (Full-time, Year-round Workers) with Projection for Pay Equity in 2058
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (September 2014)

 
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