Money & Business

Study: The Gender Pay Gap Is Real—and It’s Not Changing

By / Mar 19, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Wage disparity between men and women has remained the same for a decade, according to findings of a study by the American Association of University Women, which proposed ways to help combat the gap in a new report.

The gender pay gap is alive and well in the United States, and it is unlikely  to go away on its own, according to a new report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

This guide is designed to empower our members and other advocates with the facts and resources they need to tell the simple truth about the pay gap.

The 2014 edition of “The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap” found that in 2012 women working full time were paid 77 percent of what men were paid. And that number hasn’t changed in a decade, according to data compiled in the biannual report.

“If you take one simple truth from this guide, I hope it’s this: The pay gap is real,” AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE, wrote in the report, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau, Department of Education, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

AAUW analyzed how the pay disparity affects women of all ages, ethnicities, and education levels. For example:

  • There is a pay gap in all 50 states. In 2012, the disparity was smallest in Washington, DC, where women were paid 90 percent of what men were paid. It was largest in Wyoming, where women earned 64 percent of what men did.
  • The pay gap does not discriminate based on occupation or education level. Women working in female-dominated, male-dominated, and gender-balanced occupations earned less than men. And women’s median earnings were less than men’s at every level of academic achievement.
  • As women age, so does the pay gap. Women 25 and younger typically were paid around 90 percent what men were paid, while those 35 and older earned about 75 percent to 80 percent of men’s pay.

The relative stagnation in pay disparity that the AAUW study found echoes recent findings in a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which noted that the ratio of female-to-male weekly earnings in 2013 was 82.1, a small increase from 79.4 in 2003.

What can be done to lessen the gap?

AAUW outlined several steps  that individuals and institutions can take to help promote equal pay among men and women, including  strengthening salary negotiation skills, pushing for employer audits to monitor pay discrepancies, and advocating for legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act.

“This guide is designed to empower our members and other advocates with the facts and resources they need to tell the simple truth about the pay gap,” Hallman wrote of the 2014 report. The gap “is real, it’s persistent, and it’s undermining the economic security of American women and their families.”

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. More »

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