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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 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 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 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. 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: 2014 | 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 2058 | Quick Figures

How Equal Pay for Working Women would Reduce Poverty and Grow the American Economy | Briefing Paper

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: 2012
by Ariane Hegewisch, Claudia Williams, and Angela Edwards (March 2013)

In 2012, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 80.9 percent, a decline of more than one percentage point since 2011 when the ratio was 82.2 percent. This corresponds to a weekly gender wage gap of 19.1 percent for 2012. Women’s median weekly earnings in 2012 were $691, a marginal decline compared to 2011; men’s median weekly earnings were $854, a marginal increase compared to 2011.

 
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The Gender Wage Gap in New York State and Its Solutions
by Ariane Hegewish, Jeff Hayes, Heidi Hartmann, Jocelyn Fischer, Claudia Williams, Justine Augeri (December 2012)

 

The Gender Wage Gap: 2011
by Ariane Hegewisch and Angela Edwards (September 2012)

The ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings was 77.0 for full-time/year-round workers in 2011, essentially unchanged from 77.4 in 2010. (This means the gender wage gap for full-time/year-round workers is now 23 percent.) During the last decade the wage gap narrowed by less than half of one percentage point. In the previous decade, between 1991 and 2000, it closed by almost four, and in the decade prior to that, 1981 and 1990, by over ten percentage points.

 

Gender Segregation in Fields of Study at Community Colleges and Implications for Future Earnings
by Layla Moughari, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, and Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (May 2012)

Postsecondary education yields myriad benefits, including increased earnings potential, higher lifetime wages, and access to quality jobs. But postsecondary degrees are not all equalin the benefits they bring to students and women tend to obtain degrees in fields with lower earnings. Women with associate degrees earn approximately 75 percent of what men with associate degrees earn (U.S. Department of Commerce and the Executive Office of the President, 2011). This wage gap occurs in part because women with AA degrees—like women at all degree levels—often work in lower-paid, female-dominated occupations (Hegewisch, et al. 2010).

 

The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation
by Ariane Hegewisch, Claudia Williams, and Vanessa Harbin (April 2012)

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.

 

The Gender Wage Gap: 2011
by Ariane Hegewisch, Claudia Williams, and Anlan Zhang (March 2012)

The ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings rose by one percentage point since 2010 and reached a historical high of 82.2 percent. The narrowing of the weekly gender earnings gap from 18.8 percent to 17.8 percent, however, is solely due to real wages falling further for men than for women. Both men and women’s real earnings have declined since 2010; men’s real earnings declined by 2.1 percent (from $850 to $832 in 2011 dollars), women’s by 0.9 percent (from $690 to $684 in 2011 dollars).

 

Tipped Over the Edge: Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry
by Restaurant Opportunities Center United and Family Values @ Work, HERvotes, IWPR, MomsRising, NCBCP's Black Women's Roundtable, NCRW, NOW Foundation, NPWF, NWLC, WOW, NYU Wagner, 9to5 (February 2012)

The restaurant industry employs over 10 million workers in one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the United States economy. The majority of workers in this huge and growing sector are women. Despite the sector’s growth and potential to offer opportunities to advance women’s economic security, restaurant workers’ wages have not kept pace with the industry’s economic growth.The restaurant industry offers some of the nation’s lowest-wage jobs, with little access to benefits and career advancement. In 2010, seven of the ten lowest-paid occupations were all restaurant occupations. The restaurant industry has one of the highest concentrations of workers (39 percent) earning at or below the minimum wage. Moreover, low wages tell only part of the story; workers also lack access to benefits and career mobility. These challenges create a disproportional burden for women.

 

Tipped Over the Edge: Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry (Executive Summary)
by Restaurant Opportunities Center United and Family Values @ Work, HERvotes, IWPR, MomsRising, NCBCP's Black Women's Roundtable, NCRW, NOW Foundation, NPWF, NWLC, WOW, NYU Wagner, 9to5 (February 2012)

The restaurant industry employs over 10 million workers1 in one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the United States economy. The majority of workers in this huge and growing sector are women. Despite the sector’s growth and potential to offer opportunities to advance women’s economic security, restaurant workers’ wages have not kept pace with the industry’s economic growth. The restaurant industry offers some of the nation’s lowest-wage jobs, with little access to benefits and career advancement. In 2010, seven of the ten lowest-paid occupations were all restaurant occupations.The restaurant industry has one of the highest concentrations of workers (39 percent) earning at or below the minimum wage. Moreover, low wages tell only part of the story; workers also lack access to benefits and career mobility. These challenges create a disproportional burden for women.

 
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Low Literacy Means Lower Earnings, Especially for Women
by Jennifer Herard, Kevin Miller, Jane Henrici, and Barbara Gault (February 2012)

 

Equal Job Growth for Women and Men in Last Quarter of 2011: Women Continue to Leave the Labor Force
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (January 2012)

According to IWPR analysis of the January employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth was moderate in December with 200,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls.

 

The Gender Wage Gap in New York State and Its Solutions
by Ariane Hegewich, Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Jocelyn Fischer, Claudia Williams, and Justine Augeri (December 2011)

This gender wage gap has pernicious consequences for women and their families. 14.8 percent of women in New York State had incomes at or below the official poverty threshold (for families of their size and composition). This poverty rate for women in New York is approximately the same as that for women in the United States as a whole, with 28 states having less female poverty than New York State.

 

Slow Job Growth in September Points to Need for Federal Help with Job Creation
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (October 2011)

 

The Gender Wage Gap: 2010
by Ariane Hegewisch and Claudia Williams (September 2011)

The ratio of women‟s and men‟s median annual earnings was 77.4 for full-time/year-round workers in 2010, essentially unchanged from 77.0 in 2009.

 

Women Underrepresented Among High Earners in Banking and Finance
by Institute for Women's Policy Research (September 2011)

 

Women and Men in the Public Sector
by Jeff Hayes, Ph.D. (September 2011)

 

The Job Loss Tsunami of the Great Recession: Wave Recedes for Men, Not for Women
by Heidi Hartmann, Jeffrey Hayes (July 2011)

 

Pay Secrecy and Wage Discrimination
by Ariane Hegewisch, Claudia Williams and Robert Drago, Ph.D. (June 2011)

 

The New Mexico Pay Equity Initiative in State Contracting
by Martha Burk (May 2011)

 
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The New Mexico Pay Equity Initiative in State Contracting
by Martha Burk, Ph. D (May 2011)

 
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The Wage Gap and Occupational Segregation
by Barbara Gault, Ph.D. (April 2011)

 
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