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Women are still paid 83 cents for every dollar earned by men. That’s why

 Women are still paid 83 cents for every dollar earned by men.  That's why

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The “gap” between how much money men and women are paid has long been a feature of the U.S. economy.

Although the pay gap has narrowed since the 1960s, progress seems to have slowed in the last decade or more – a dynamic that has serious implications for women’s financial security and well-being, experts say.

“You will see that no matter how you measure it, there is a pay gap,” said Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Institute for Economic Policy, a left-wing think tank. “It has a big impact on lifelong income.”

Here is the clearest measure of disparity: in 2020, women earned 83 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to to the U.S. Census Bureau. (The analysis measures the average salary for full-time, year-round workers aged 15 and over.)

In other words: it would be to take about 40 extra work days for women to get a comparable salary.

Colored women are at an even greater disadvantage. For example, black women were paid 64% and Hispanic women 57% of what was paid to white non-Hispanic men in 2020, according to to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“There is a significant gap,” said Richard Fry, a senior fellow at the Pew Research Center. “It hasn’t narrowed much in the last 15 years.”


In 1960, the national wage gap was much larger; at that time women earned 61 cents for every dollar of men’s salary.

Since then, women have made great strides in both education and work experience that employers tend to reward with higher pay, Fry said.

Young women are more likely to go to college than young men, and women over the age of 25 are more likely to have four years of college, according to to Pew.

According to Emily Martin, vice president of education and justice in the workplace of the National Women’s Legal Center, Americans have also seen many changes in U.S. law and culture – tighter enforcement of pay discrimination laws and changing women’s expectations and perceptions of the workforce.

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According to experts, the problem is not only that women’s wages continue to lag behind in the aggregate. The pay gap persists when comparing women to men with the same level of education, occupation, income and race.

In fact, recent analysis Gould found that progress had stalled for more than two decades: in 2021, women earned about 80 cents for every dollar of men’s earnings, little change from about 77 cents in 1994 after monitoring differences in education, age, geography, race and race. ethnicity.


10,000 hours | DigitalVision | Getty Images

But the pay gap is not just about the jobs a woman can choose. Even in predominantly female jobs, women are paid on average less than men, Glyn and Bosch write. Average wages by occupation also tend to fall when women enter large numbers because their work is so “devalued,” they added.

In addition, about 42% of working women faced gender discrimination at work, which is almost twice as many as men, according to Pew in 2017. poll.

These included, for example, lower wages, treatment of the incompetent, omissions and important assignments, and less support from senior executives, for example.


But history shows that the gap will widen.

In 2000, a typical woman between the ages of 16 and 29, working full time and year-round, received 88% of the salary of a similar man. According to Pew, by 2019, when they were 35 to 48 years old, women earned an average of only 80% of their male peers.

“Their benefits and compensations over men were the narrowest at the beginning of their careers,” Fry said. “Regardless of the parity they feel now, it may not last as they age.”


This is not to say that all women earn less than men. There is no pay gap in a small group of occupations such as phlebotomies, electricians and social workers, according to to the Census Bureau.

But overall, the pay gap is reducing women’s overall well-being.

The wealth gap is harder to measure than payment, as wealth is often measured at the household level (rather than individual). But 2021 study The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which looked at female-headed households compared to men, found that an ordinary woman has only 55 cents for every dollar a man has.

According to Martin, the continued elimination of the gender pay gap depends largely on changes in public policy to improve structural issues: for example, investment in childcare infrastructure, paid family and medical leave, raising the minimum wage and strengthening equal pay laws work, for example, she said.

Some pursuit of equity in pay: Nearly two dozen states and the same number of cities have banned potential employers from asking applicants questions about pay history, for example, according to a website. HR immersion. (Some states have gone the other way, by prohibiting such prohibitions.)

Individual actions and attitudes can also help influence change, Martin said.

This could include trying to break down barriers around pay secrecy: requiring employers to be more open to sharing details and making decisions about pay in the workplace, she said.

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