A new report by Jessica Arons of the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that the career pay gap — the difference between the median wages of all full-time working men and women over a 40 year period — deprives women of $434,000, on average, over the course of their working life.
Read the full report, which breaks down the career pay gap by state, education level, and occupation, here.
Currently, a typical woman earns 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man doing similar work. Over a lifetime, this disparity accumulates, widening over time, and depriving a woman and her family of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The wage gap makes it even harder for single women and especially single moms to make ends meet. The pay gap persists across all income and education levels, with the widest career gap among those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
As Arons writes, “The career pay gap represents an outrageous, unacceptable, and unjustifiable loss to women and their families, as well as to our economy. We must increase our efforts to close this gap as much as possible and as quickly as possible, in order to ensure women’s full equality, a fair workplace, and a more stable economy.”
Congress can act to address this problem by passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would make it easier for women to be compensated for pay discrimination and give employers incentives to close the pay gap. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups have come out hard against these bills, saying they impose too much of a cost on doing business.
UPDATE: I Am Progress has released a video encouraging the Chamber of Commerce to “get out of the way of Fair Pay.”