Economy

The Gender Wage Gap Didn’t Budge Last Year

CREDIT: Shutterstock

The average woman working full time, year round made 78 percent of what a man with similar employment made in 2013, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau, a slight but not statistically different increase from 77 percent in 2012. There hasn’t been a significant increase since 2007.

In 2013, men’s median earnings were $50,000 a year, while women’s were $39,200, also not statistically different than the year before. Neither gender was seen a significant increase in earnings since 2009.

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CREDIT: Census Bureau

In fact, progress on closing the wage gap has basically stalled for a decade after making significant progress between the 1960s and 1990s. Women’s wages saw significant increases during that time. But they have basically experienced a standstill for the past ten years.

Many factors go into the reason women make less than men on average, including the clash many women experience between work demands and raising children. But there is little women can do to escape it. They will earn less in their first year out of college and no matter how much more education they earn. They will also earn less in virtually every job category — 112 out of 115. They’ll earn less in both female-dominated jobs and male-dominated ones.

The gap is even wider for women of color. According to the previous year’s Census data, African-American women working full time all year made 64 cents for every dollar a white man made, while Hispanic women made just 54 cents. They also make less than white women.

Studies examining the gap have found an unexplainable portion, which may be due to outright discrimination. That’s difficult to legislate against. But banning salary secrecy would help women discover when they are being unfairly paid less so they can take action, and places with more wage transparency have smaller gender wage gaps.

On a bigger scale, policies that help women avoid having to choose between their jobs and their families could help, such as paid family leave and affordable, consistent child care.

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