The Gender Pay Gap
The most recent year for reported year-round earnings data available for full-time workers revealed the gender earnings gap to be 20 percent between men and women or said a different way women earned 20 percent less than men (Hegewisch 2018).
The earnings gap between women and men has been measured (in the past) by taking a snapshot of both genders who have worked fulltime year-round and in a given year. Reviewing a 15-year period from 2001 through 2015, The Institute for Women’s Policy Research examined the different labor force experiences of women and men. The report “The Slowly Narrowing Gender Wage Gap” showed 28 percent of women and 59 percent of men worked consistently full-time, year-round between 2001 and 2015.
In previous reports, it has been stated women earn 80 cents to every dollar a man would make which understates the pay inequality issue for women. Looking only to full time women labor leaves many of them out of the picture when compared to men. Some of the highlights coming out of this study:
• “Women today earn just 49 cents to the typical men’s dollar, much less than the 80 cents usually reported.” Total earnings are measured across a 15-year period for all workers, not just full time workers, and who have worked at least one year. Earnings for women were 49% of the earnings for men in 2015. Over the 15-year period, progress or gains in salary for women versus men has slowed when compared to the previous 30 years.
• “The cost of taking time off from the labor force is high.” Women taking one year off from work resulted in annual earnings 39% less than women who worked the 15-year period. When compared to a 15-year period starting in 1968 the 2001 through 2015 period saw a 12% decrease in pay. Men were also penalized; but, it was not to the same degree as women much of the time.
• “Strengthening women’s labor force attachment is critical to narrowing the gender wage gap.” At nearly twice the rate of men, 43% of women had at least one year off with no earnings over the last 50 years. Polices such as paid family and medical leave and affordable child care can help woman participation rate improve and men to share unpaid time off.
• “Enforcement of equal employment opportunities and Title IX in education is critical to narrowing the wage gap.” Enforcement would assist women in gaining access to those higher paying fields which are now off-limits and has been for decades.
Expanding policies and programs to other parts of the country beyond what a few states have done or adopting national policies could help close the comprehensive, long-term earnings gap in the United States and equalize women’s pay with men’s across the lifetime.
“Women today earn just 49 cents to the typical men’s dollar, much less than the 80 cents usually reported.”
This is a BS statistic that is essentially meaningless. I worked in law enforcement before I retired and we had a gender-blind pay structure that paid agents with the same level of experience exactly the same rate of pay. Yet only about 20% of the agents were women. About 90% of the support staff–lower paying non professional positions not requiring a college degree–were indeed paid far less.
Yet by applying the metric above to our profession “women” would have indeed been paid far less than “men.” But the non-BS way to state it would be professional staff were paid far more than non-professional staff.
Anybody who uses this metric to claim there is still a pay imbalance in 21st century America is, at best, full of it.
Forgot to mention the fact that the reason my profession is still about 80% men is that stat reflects the approximate applicant pool. Women generally are not as interested in being law enforcement officers as men because of the long hours and the fact that it can be quite physically demanding. When they are, they certainly wouldn’t discriminated against–quite the opposite given that the EEO offices are always watching.