Equal Work for Unequal Pay: America’s Gender Wage Gap

By Nina Anthony | December 19, 2012

When It Comes to Compensation, It’s Still a Man’s World in the Workplace

If you Google phrases like “equal pay for equal work” or “gender wage gap” you’ll find a ton of articles and reports that show how wage disparities between men and women persist in America.

A recent study called “Graduating to a Pay Gap”, conducted by The American Association of University Women, showed that when men and women attend the same type of college, choose the same major and accept the same kind of job, on average, the woman will earn 82 cents to every dollar earned by a man.

The study, which tracked graduates with identical collegiate experiences, limited familiarity with the professional world, and those who didn’t have spouses or children, found that in the teaching field, female college graduates earned 89% of what men did. In business, women earned 86% of men’s earnings, and in sales occupations, women earned 77% of what men took home.

Another report by Washington D.C. think tank, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, found that full-time working women in America earned about 82% of the median weekly earnings of men. The report, which studied several occupations, showed that women earned less than men in almost all job categories. The gender wage gap was most pronounced amongst CEOs and financial managers and positions that are more traditionally held by men.

Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports the Institute for Women’s Policy Research findings that show women, on average, earn 82% as much as men.

So, despite positive moves toward equalizing pay between men and women, such as the Lilly Lebetter Fair Pay Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2009, women continue to earn almost 20% less than what their male counterparts earn.

Though women have made some inroads in narrowing the wage gap (in 1980, women earned an average of 64% of what men earned for the same job), there is still much work that needs to be done to ensure that women earn their fair share in the workforce.

This infographic from LearnStuff shows just how wide the gender wage gap remains:

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Nina Anthony

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