April 14, 2015

On Equal Pay Day, key facts about the gender pay gap

Today marks “Equal Pay Day,” the date that symbolizes how far into the new year the average American woman would have to work to earn what the average American man did in the previous year.

Both men and women see inequalities in the workplace – 77% of women and 63% of men said “this country needs to continue making changes to give men and women equality in the workplace,” according to a Pew Research Center survey last fall.

According to the White House, full-time working women earn 77% of what their male counterparts earn. This means that women have to work approximately 60 extra days, or about three months, to earn what men did by the end of the previous year. However, our own estimate, which is based on hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers, finds women earn 84 percent of what men earn. Based on our estimate, it would take approximately 40 days, or until the end of February, for women to earn what men had by the end of last year.

But for young women, the wage gap is even smaller – at 93 percent – meaning they caught up to their same-aged male counterparts by roughly the last week in January of this year.

As our video explains, the estimated 16-cent pay gap today has narrowed from 36 cents in 1980. Back then, the average woman would have had to work approximately 90 days, roughly into the beginning of May, in order to catch up with men’s earnings from the year before.

In spite of its narrowing, the gender pay gap persists. Why is this? In our survey, women were more likely to say they had taken career interruptions to care for their family. And research has shown that these types of interruptions can have an impact on long-term earnings. Roughly four-in-ten mothers say they have taken a significant amount of time off from work (39%) or reduced their work hours (42%) to care for a child or other family member. Roughly a quarter (27%) say they have quit work altogether to take care of these familial responsibilities. (Fewer men say the same. For example, just 24% of fathers say they have taken a significant amount of time off to care for a child or other family member.)

Even though women have increased their presence in higher-paying jobs traditionally dominated by men, such as professional and managerial positions, women as a whole continue to work in lower-paying occupations than men do. And some part of the pay gap may also be due to gender discrimination – women are about twice as likely as men to say they had been discriminated against at work because of their gender (18% vs. 10%).

Note: This post was updated on April 14, 2015.

Topics: Gender, Work and Employment

  1. is a research analyst focusing on Hispanic, social and demographic trends at Pew Research Center.

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  1. Darrin2 weeks ago

    Why have i witnessed every job i applied at as almost all women. I rarely ever see mem at jobs here in san diego. Even job descriptions say prefer female or women. I have applied to 200+ different places and im a certified medical assistant. I have been turned down at every place (retail, medical, assistant, billing, waiting tables) i have done a survey of how many women work at places here compared to the men. Almost every place, except gay bars and stores, have women working more than men. That is discrimanation. I have done my research and did went to all those places physically

  2. dan2 months ago

    I am tired of this nonsense. The statistic that gets bantered around as a stone cold fact “Women make $0.77 for every $1.00 a man makes for the same job” IS NOT TRUE.

    Statistics get skewed everyday, this one is no different. The last part of that statement is patently false “for the same job.” NOT True. The statistic is across the board – the Average American Man’s VS The Average American Women’s earnings. It is not an Apples to Apples comparison for the Same Job. This is an important distinction.

    Here’s why –
    Statistically women gravitate toward lower paying fields.
    Statistically men work more overtime.
    Statistically men commute 33% Further ( literally chasing the money down the highway)
    Statistically women take more time off from the work force for child rearing
    Statistically men change jobs more often- to make more money

    The over all statistic is always pointed to as unexplainable by any one factor, Well these factors above cumulatively start to explain the majority of it away.

    I am all for Equality, That is why I am not so big on feminism, in favor of Humanism. But even Feminists, looking to empower their “sister’s” point to statistics that a Man is more likely to ask for a raise than a women.

    Every time a women writes an article on this subject, she quickly dimisses, the child rearing and the lower paying fields aspects, and never addresses the commute or Overtime issue. The overtime gap alone explains 10% of the gender gap all by itself as a hard Statistical fact. And no man is spending 2 hours in traffic daily, driving to the nearest larger metropolitan area, for the same money available closer to home. They do this for a better Paycheck.
    And the younger woman will now decry, “I’m making that same commute!” Yes, you are millennial, welcome to equality. The $0.73 on the $1.00 statistic LITERALLY doesn’t pertain to you. You are being paid equally, Statistically speaking, when compared to your male counterparts your own age.
    Humanism, come join us, the door is always open….

    1. Athena2 months ago

      Love your comment.

      You may want to give 4th Wave Feminism a try. It brings the focus of feminism *BACK* to equality.

      The wage gap is indeed a myth. 4thwavers.wordpress.com/2014/08/…

      1. Michael1 month ago

        Every experience with 4th wave I’ve had is the opposite of what you say. They’re still insisting that women’s issues are much more important than men’s issues, and they’re still kicking around “77 cents per dollar,” “less than 2% of men are raped,” “false rape accusations almost never happen,” and “domestic violence primarily affects women.”

        But if you can point me to a community that isn’t doing that, I’m willing to reconsider. It would actually be very refreshing.

    2. Humanism2 months ago

      Humanism: a form of rationalism that rejects faith-based thoughts or beliefs in favor of scientific evidence. Not really relevant to this topic.

      Yes, those factors – child-rearing, lower-level/clerical jobs – mostly EXPLAIN the pay gap… But they doesn’t JUSTIFY the gap. The reasons that women are more likely to go towards lower-level jobs that are often closer to home and require less education and have t take on the burden of a majority of child-rearing, are residue from an ongoing history of prejudice towards women.

      -A Man

      1. Sarah4 weeks ago

        Bravo, ‘A Man’!

      2. blah4 weeks ago

        Actually 3rd wave feminism has left the realm of fact and has become a faith, so in this one small bit he was right to use humanism. But yeah he possibly means egalitarian.

    3. Chelly2 weeks ago

      Dan — did you miss the fact that the article you just read was written by a woman and the bar graph it included showing women are more likely to work reduced hours, take time off, quit a job, and turn down a promotion due to child-rearing responsibilities? There are many, many articles out there by feminists discussing the child-rearing issue.

      The harshest critics I’ve seen of feminism do not appear to have ever read an article or a book by reputable leaders of the feminist movement. They appear to have gotten their information directly from FOX News or some other backlash group.

  3. Anonymous1233 months ago

    Question. these statistics(general work force). I’m curious what the specifics are per work set:

    Managers etc and how many are of the older generation.

    What was the application rate for those positions.’

    For 100 women working in accounting, how many applied for the job.

    For 100 men,, how many applied. I bet the percentage for men competing had been lot higher. My point is, is that there are not the same number of applications for job skill sets, that this article portrays as a gross total. But of those applicants, women get higher pay than men per successful applicant. I’m basing this on what I see around my work. I’m the minority as a man. And I have more education (Engineering BS) and MS in Business and 12 years experience vs someone who has 4. I know the snarky comment is , well you don’t perform, which is getting derailed from the topic at hand. Back to my point, I wonder of the women who have the job, how many applied and with what skill set.

    How many Women work in Defense contractor firms on a technical staff with non technical degrees earning the same as men who do? I can’t find this anywhere. I have a question, why?

  4. Nurd3 months ago

    In response to Equal Pay Day, I present to you Equal Work Day. This is the day of the year when men can stop working, because they’ve already worked as much as women do for the entire year. This day generally lands in late August or early September. On Equal Work Day, men can stop working for the rest of the year and watch women catch up to the hours they’ve already worked earlier in the year.

  5. Eve5 months ago

    What if women think and behave like men? Perhaps a cost/benefit analysis would shed light on a woman having a family. Studies show that women are less happy in a marriage, earn less because they don’t have work flexibility to care for familial matters, and may suffer health issues due to pregnancies. Is having a family beneficial to society? Definitely so. Why do women bear the cost of this benefit to society? People who leave the workforce to serve in the military receive benefits for their sacrifice…why aren’t women provided benefits for their sacrifice in helping society? After all, we wouldn’t have military personnel if women decided that having children wasn’t beneficial to their future. Maybe obstacles abound for women because the contributions that they make are not valued. Bridgid Schulte and Anne-Marie Slaughter are bringing these and many other obstacles to light. We need to integrate into our society the changes that other countries have made to appreciate and value the contributions of women. It doesn’t have to be this way.

    1. Boythorn Ironclad3 months ago

      “Maybe obstacles abound for women because the contributions that they make are not valued.”

      Exactly, I don’t value your choice to procreate. And I don’t want to subsidize it. We have enough humans. It’s not a service to society when millions are waiting to get into the country. If you want access to contraception and abortion, I’m happy to protest with you, but don’t try to guilt-trip everyone else into helping with your kids.

    2. dan2 months ago

      Are you kidding? Studies show men Die younger, studies show work related stress has everything to do with it. Studies show 10% of this sophist fake gap you are so fixed on is based on men working more overtime. Studies show men commute 33% further than women for work ( Why do you think that is?)
      How would you delegate this “Homemaker” Benefit package? How many years? At what age does it stop? How long do we have to Federalize The Duggars?
      I’d love to see what the Childless couple has to say about your “Homemaker” benefit Package. I’d love to see how many divorces result from women expecting every year of Child rearing are their “homemaker benefit package” when Dad could just as easily catch a break… NOPE.
      And one last thought, did you just compare Motherhood to serving in a War zone?

  6. mysterman7 months ago

    Warren Farrell said it best about this topic and it’s even stated in this article!

    Women get paid less because,
    “Roughly four-in-ten mothers say they have taken a significant amount of time off from work (39%) or reduced their work hours (42%) to care for a child or other family member. Roughly a quarter (27%) say they have quit work altogether to take care of these familial responsibilities. (Fewer men say the same. For example, just 24% of fathers say they have taken a significant amount of time off to care for a child or other family member.)”

    It’s not a fair comparison if you take the general population of both sex because of these duties, such as taking care of your family or loved ones. If a woman has a family, she will work less than her husband or any man because she is attending more to her family than her career. She sacrifice her career to be with her family. Her husband will work more because he needs to provide for his family.

    The other problem is rather the comparison is properly compared with the same industry. A doctor can either work in the public or private sector. If more women work in the public sector, then she will earn less than those who work in the private sectors.

    There will always be a discrepancy since wages are negotiated.

    The overall tone as to why women earn less is due to the overall value that women choose that men do not and it’s the reason why women live longer and have a fruitful life compared to men. What women tend to do is set a limit and live with it while a man would thrive for more. A woman maybe comfortable with 50k and not go further with her career. But a man would thrive to earn more and move up the social ladder.

    1. dollypuss6 months ago

      HOLY what! Someone has to take care of the family!

      Glad you are noting that a man like this would “thrive for more” – yeah, this kind of man that you describe thrives… because he has a woman who will take care of the petty little life issues like sick children and parents (and, likely, his parents).

      Good luck with that social ladder. You need a partner taking care of your personal life, and earning an income to move up these days.

      1. Enrique6 months ago

        Do you really think that Jamie Dimon’s wife or Safra Katz’s husband (or any other spouse of executives who are considered to be atop the social ladder) does any housework, childcare, or “homemaking” (as it is traditionally defined)?

        1. Enrique6 months ago

          Catz* darn you autocorrect!

      2. dan2 months ago

        Yes, no question “Someone has to take care of the family”

        But that raises a couple of fair questions –
        What company should be paying you for that?
        Do Men’s wages suffer when they have to make the same admiral sacrifices to take care of their families, because sometimes it is the man who does this, What company should be paying him for that? The same one that should be paying you for it? Nuclear Family Corp LLC? Extended Family Inc.?
        And lastly, “Someone has to take care of the family”, Isn’t Dad’s Paycheck playing a role in that?

        I’m not arguing like some sort of Limbaughtomized Male Chauvinist here. Be reasonable. This argument is being blown out of all proportion. It is a false female-centric argument. and the statistics are being skewed to no end.

        Humanism . not feminism, is where the fight for equality needs to be fought. it isn’t gender or race based anymore. It’s the Haves Vs the Have Nots. You are an accidental soldier for the Haves. 10% of the country controls 90% of the wealth, and globally, last month we reached the point where the top 1% had accrued more wealth than the bottom 99%. So keep on fighting for women’s issues including this false pay gap. ( It is false) and apologize to your Sons, and Grandsons, Later. Just before you realize , oh yeah, That effected you too and extend the same apology to your daughters and Granddaughters.

        1. Richard3 weeks ago

          Let me add that a married couple is a team. The money belongs to both partners and division of labor is more beneficial in many cases than having two incomes, or two full time incomes when you consider all the costs like extra insurance, fuel, food, daycare, etc. As a couple there is no meaningful statistic on gender gap. However if you consider single men to single women you will find the numbers lose any relevance for the gender gap argument..

    2. Jenna6 months ago

      So what you’re saying is that women do not have a desire to thrive? That’s a pretty bold statement.

  7. Anonymous7 months ago

    I was just offered a professional position at 18% less than the man who recently held the job was making when he started 2 years ago. My credentials are better and I was recruited to the position. In addition, the man had full benefits, and if I take the job, I will not have health insurance benefits. At 50 years of age, with 20 years in this profession, and a good 15-20 good years in me, this is appalling.

    1. mysterman7 months ago

      The problem with your situation may not be due to sex differences but economics. If you had a job in 2006, you’d be earning more than a guy who had a job in 2008. In 2006, the economy was prosperous compared to 2008 where the economy went to a recession. When I look at the job postings online today, what you’d see is employers looking for someone who has a high credential and is paying a low wage. There are entry level work for engineers where they want 4 years+ experience and are paying you an entry level salary.

      Is it private or public. If you were in private, the sky’s the limit on the grounds of the economy. But if it was public, you’d be working on the fundings of what is given to the institute. So if you came working during a time where funding was low, then you’re wage will be low if you were entering the company. The guy who worked there 2 years before will not have a low wage since they maybe contracted for the given salary during a possible time of economic prosperity.

      So it may not be so much about sex but economics.

      1. Kayla6 months ago

        Why do you keep referencing “the economy” of the years 2006 and 2008? it is now 2014, and her comment was posted 3 WEEKS (not years) ago. the economy of 2006 and the recession of 2008 are clearly not the reason. I’m not necessarily saying that sexism IS the reason, but I am saying that “the economy” 6-8 years ago is not why this woman was offered the same position for 18% less AND without full benefits. no.

        1. anon6 months ago

          Thank you – that comment bugged me too – clearly someone who’s not reading very closely.

          Presumably, a man held this position ‘recently’ meaning in the last, say, 3-6 months. Of course employers want to pay less, and 18% less + no benefits = saving a lot of money. And ‘the economy’ is not a huge factor if they were paying this just a few months back. 5% less, I can see – male or female – to give someone time to learn the particulars of the org, but that would be a trial period pay, unrelated to gender (or… should be).

          1. David6 months ago

            What is also NOT stated is why the man no longer holds that particular position. Could it be he was fired or terminated because he refused to take a pay and benefits cut that the company mandated. If this is the case, then the whole argument is invalid. You had a choice to make: stay where you were or move up with the pay that was offered.
            Many things could have effected the pay scale during the last two years that were not mentioned. Why jump to the conclusion that it is because you are a woman?

          2. Bob Barker5 months ago

            This is a common thing, even for men. Employers in many cases will try to hire a new employee at a lower rate, it’s part of negotiations. If they can get you to accept a lower salary, that increases their profits. Especially since they will likely give you a raise each year, so the lower you start, the less money they’ll have to pay.

            I discovered that after firing my male coworker they wanted to give me a raise that wouldn’t even reach parity with his salary, and this was a coworker who was working UNDER me. He told me his salary when he left, allowing me to negotiate for my pay raise to at least EQUAL his salary.

            Bear in mind, I was in the senior position, he was working under me, and by firing him they should have had the money to at least pay me equal to what he was making, but they attempted to pay me less anyway, relying on me not knowing his salary.

            But I guess this is a non-story because it’s between two men.

            Not everything is about gender.

    2. derek6 months ago

      Well you can most likely thank Obama care for the lack of insurance. Companies all over the country are changing the benefit packages, due to the high cost of Obama care. And of course you will make less than someone who has been there 2 years. Most starting wages are less than the wage will be after 2 years on the job. If you are working somewhere for 2 years and the company hires a new employee to the same job as you how would you feel if they were paid the same on their first day as you after 2 years?

      1. Kat6 months ago

        Read her post again. “18% less than the man who recently held the job was making when he started 2 years ago” ***WHEN HE STARTED***

        1. anon1 month ago

          And the man before her probably negotiated his salary instead of just settling for the first thing offered. Sheryl sandberg. Google her.

    3. Brian6 months ago

      I’m curious if you can’t counter the offer they gave you, and ask for more money. Plus, how is it that you are aware of the salary of the previous person?

      1. Brandon6 months ago

        Lol, I was thinking the same. If I was offered to fill in a position with 18% money, I’m certain to ask why I received such a smaller pay.

    4. John5 months ago

      When you are offered a position, it is your responsibility to counter that offer. He most likely negotiated to get that 18% difference. It is against the law for a employ to not offer the same amount that is offered to the opposite sex, but if a person negotiates for a higher amount in pay, the employer doesn’t have to give you the same negotiated offer. I’m sure that you think it couldn’t be that simple but next time try it and see what happens.

    5. dan2 months ago

      Anonymous women,

      The fact that you are not being offered healthcare, leads me to believe, you are being outsourced? You are not in the employee of the company making this offer, you are sub-contracted via an employment agency? Blame that sleazy corporate practice! Fight that! Because the male sub-contracted from the employment agency is dealing with the same thing.

  8. smitty7 months ago

    “Roughly four-in-ten mothers say they have taken a significant amount of time off from work (39%) or reduced their work hours (42%) to care for a child or other family member. Roughly a quarter (27%) say they have quit work altogether to take care of these familial responsibilities. (Fewer men say the same. For example, just 24% of fathers say they have taken a significant amount of time off to care for a child or other family member.)”

    So apparently women are earn less because they’ve worked less

  9. Angelofnv7 months ago

    If that were the case, and that’s make or break for a woman, you wouldn’t want to be with her, anyway. I never sought a man based on his income and though some do, there are plenty that don’t.

  10. Sue Perry7 months ago

    Many reasons for gender pay gap.

    1. MG5 months ago

      I get paid less then every other female director in my position and I am number one in my company. Sometimes it is just the way things work out. It might not have anything to do with talent or being a man, just timing in the company.

  11. chris7 months ago

    Women will always seek men who earn more money than them when it comes to finding a partner. If we get equal pay a lot of men will become disqualified for the woman and end up alone. I really feel uneasy about that.

    1. Annon.6 months ago

      But if women were paid an equal amount to men, then continuing with your statement, women would as well end up alone, as they would see that there are not many men left out there who have a higher pay raise than them. Women would no longer go for men who earn more money than they do because those men would most likely be in one of the last jobs to get with the new modo.

    2. Emily6 months ago

      Not all women choose a partner based on their income or potential earning power. If a woman making the same amount of money as a man for the same work with the same qualifications makes you uneasy, you must have some major deficiency in your character that makes you unqualified to be a partner. Women are people who make decisions based on a combination of logic and feelings. To assume a woman only chooses a partner based on a single factor demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of human nature.

      1. Hunk6 months ago

        As you say, not all women do choose a partner based on status, but I say it is the vast majority. And you will probably never, never see a high-profile woman (high pay, intelligent, attractive) marry downwards on the status – spiral. Maybe you will find some, but the vast majority of women will ALWAYS choose the higher status male. And if the woman is already on the top, the air regarding men to choose gets very thin very fast.

    3. Amanda3 months ago

      That is a ridiculous statement.

  12. shaun w8 months ago

    If there were any truth to this very distorted claim, women would trend towards jobs that are commission-based. I’m a supporter of Obama and I like Maddow, but this is the most dishonest statistic being (mis-) quoted by both of them, and others.

  13. Team Punishment9 months ago

    great article. thanks for sharing. aware.

  14. declan9 months ago

    Well no, there is no “pay gap”. This has been disproven time and time again, a company would be sued for discrimination if it paid a male higher than a female for the same job. The fallacy in this whole argument for pay gap is that it simply compares the average earnings of all women, against the average earnings of all men, and we arrive at the “women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn, therefore discrimination and patriarchy” lies.
    If you account for:
    A. the time women take off work for maternity leave or to raise children, or stay at home mothers.
    B. the higher portion of women who work part time or casual compared to men, who have more full time workers.
    C. the different career choices men and women make which lead them to higher or lower paying industries, eg. men are more likely to go into STEM fields, whereas women are more likely to go into say education or nursing.

    the so called “wage gap” is nullified and essentially 100% accounted for, instead of promoting the spread of lies that are detrimental to society as a whole, please do some of your own research instead of taking misleading articles written by idiots and/or feminists as truth without looking into it.

    1. Crystal6 months ago

      There is too a wage gap. I was recruited for and started a job three weeks ago. The same time 2 men were hired for the same job at the same company. They are both making $4k a year more than me. I know this because one of them told me on my first day of work and has reminded me and the co-workers around me of my difference in pay on a few occasions at work. I called my recruiter in the morning of my 2nd day on the job and was warned that I would be let go if I brought the matter up again. After being humiliated in front of co-workers about my lower pay by the same higher paid co-worker a second time, I emailed the recruiter explaining that I know what was happening is illegal. Three days later the recruiter leaves me a voice mail stating that I am throwing some serious charges around and that someone from human resources would be contacting me to discuss the matter further. That was over a week ago and they have made no contact.

      Yesterday I decided that I would file an EEOC complaint. The federal website says you need to contact your state agency. So I went to the state of Oklahoma’s EEOC website and searched for the link giving me the address where I could file such a complaint in Tulsa. There is a link but there is no EEOC office in Tulsa. I could travel to OKC to get the forms. They have a link for help with EEOC forms on the State of OK website and when I went to that it was an external vendor selling EEOC forms for $29.99!

      So I have decided to get an attorney to settle the matter. So I can certainly see why so few of these incidents get reported. I think it is because the injured party has to jump through a bunch of hoops and take a chance on ruining their professional reputation in order to correct the matter.

      1. HumanistX2 months ago

        You do realize that a $4k difference in salary is probably because they negotiated that salary. Did you accept the employer’s initial offer or did you counter? I am not saying that the guy throwing it in your face isn’t a complete a$$hole, he definitely is, but consider that he probably also asked for more to take the job.

  15. Annett9 months ago

    What i do not realize is in fact how you are not actually much more well-preferred than you may be now. You are very intelligent. You know therefore significantly in relation to this subject, produced me in my view consider it from numerous numerous angles. Its like women and men are not involved until it is something to do with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs great. Always maintain it up!

  16. Skyler9 months ago

    Yup! Can you agree more? So unfair! Men get more pay than woman? That’s just ding-dong wrong!

  17. Hamilton11 months ago

    And women work twice as hard ,receiving even less pay. Demoralizing, patronization of women make for desultory work environment. Wells Fargo did not promote women
    in 1969-70 when I worked For them.

    1. Chuck10 months ago

      Seriously? Women work twice as hard?

  18. miK12 months ago

    Eileen, is the gap 23% or 2-5%? Comparing similar jobs and experiences, it seems 2-5% is more plausible. I mean, how can any company survive paying their workers 23% premium over others of same ability?

    1. Eileen Patten12 months ago


      The gap the White House usually discusses is 23%, not 2-5%, but what you have to keep in mind is that this is comparing all working women to all working men — and as we discuss in the second half of this post there are many factors contributing to this gap — for examaple, differences in time out of the workforce, hours worked and occupations all contribute to the gap, among other things. We do not have data on an individual workplace and position level that would allow us to look at exactly what women and men in the same position at the same companies earn.


      1. Teh BuG10 months ago

        hey while were at it Eileen, lets compare Deaths in the workplace by gender with the gender pay gap, and see if we can correlate any information out of it.


        1. Teh BuG10 months ago

          Page Six is the one you want to look at.

  19. TAG1 year ago

    Where are the direct results. Like, same job, same experience, same hours, same production, same ability, same skill, and same knowledge. If all things are equal then yes, the pay should be equal no matter what sex, race, or age. I believe when all things are considered, pay is equal.

  20. Susan LIndquist1 year ago

    thanks Eileen! This is a very interesting and well researched study. But I’m concerned about two things.

    First, the “quick glance graphic” associated with the video broadcastsan immediate message: “Hey! things aren’t so bad!”. Women have narrowed the gap till it almost seems to disappear. Only when you look further do you find that the gap is much broader when looked at in depth. This is great research! But the small font “there is more to the story” is not going to lead many people into it. Worse, given how quickly everyone moves through the internet, grabbing and keeping first impressions, this article seems likely to have an over-all negative impact simply simply due to the choice of graphic. Please consider changing it.

    Second, what do you mean by “male counterparts”? do you mean that in a job-by-job comparison, as they move up the ladder women make less and less? Or is it a simple age-binned average, where the pay numbers suffer in later years primarily from women not reaching the same rung in the ladder? Both are a shame, but deciphering what drives the numbers is important in trying to find the best way to fix it.

    1. Eileen Patten1 year ago

      Hi Sara,

      This analysis was meant to be more overarching and does not take into account job-by-job comparisons, so in this case “male counterparts” simply means men of the same age, regardless of work history or occupation. We account for some of the differences in full- vs. part-time work between men and women by using hourly earnings rather than weekly or annual earnings to make our comparisons. We do not have a way of calculating these figures based on what rung in the ladder men and women have reached in their jobs.

      The BLS has a table that includes some occupation-level analysis by gender among full-time workers that you might be interested in: bls.gov/cps/cpsaat39.pdf. However, this table is based on weekly earnings so it may be reflecting a difference in hours worked between men and women. For example, an analysis of American Time Use data by the BLS found that among full-time workers, men worked an average of 8.5 hours on days that they worked compared with 7.9 hours for women (bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm).


  21. JayB1 year ago

    Eileen – assuming that a portion of the pay gap is due to discrimination, the implication is that men making pay decisions are the cause. Can you look at the data comparing pay differences for companies run by women or woman owned businesses? The gap should be measurably less between women and men for those companies.

    1. Eileen Patten1 year ago


      We have not done any analysis on differences based on the gender of the leadership at a company or business — it is not a detail that we can get using the Census data that we typically use to run these analyses. If you know of any good analysis on this topic, I’d love to see it.


  22. JD1 year ago

    For all the reasons given for why women make less than men, I never see anyone talk about biological ability except for in the context of physical strenght. Isn’t it completely possible that the male human brain is more logical than the female human brain? It is a scientific fact that in male human infants, testosterone fundamentally changes their brain to be different from the female baseline unchanged human brain.

    Also, the article says that younger women have closed the wage gap making 93% of men. Couldn’t this be due to men giving the younger and more attractive women a better position and pay? It may have nothing to do with ability, but instead be all about sexual dynamics. Those younger women shouldn’t count on that advantage always being there for them. If we factor out the young women, then the pay gap actually increases to around 60%. Meaning that women are only capable of being 60% as productive as a man.

    And that doesn’t include all the high paying bureaucratic government desk jobs that are mainly filled by women. At the end of the day, we may find that women are only half as productive as men.

    For some reason, we want to think that humans are the only creatures without gender differences that influence behavior and ability. Seems very unscientific to me.

  23. Dennis Maher1 year ago

    What is missing here is recognition of misogyny. The comments here express an amazing amount of dislike, dismissal, and hatred of women by men. Too many men talk trash about women, especially in fields where there are few women. In those fields women will not be welcome and will experience daily insults and efforts to keep them down or get them out. It is called discrimination.

    1. Suzette Galope Garcia12 months ago

      I agree!

  24. Jean Valjean1 year ago

    I’m sorry that the Pew Research Center is damaging their credibility by regurgitating this half-century old myth about unequal pay.

    Go to the Department of Labor and look at the way they compile wages. The only criteria they use to compile full time wages is whether the person is male or female. That’s just fine for feminists and politicians who want the female vote because this method shows that women make 23% less than men.

    But this is both inaccurate and unethical. Well, to be frank it’s a darned lie. Comparing the aggregate income of a group of women to a group of men may show that women make less income per year but it does not show that women are being discriminated against or that they are making less money in the same job and working the same hours with the same experience.

    In fact, when the 77% figure is controlled for type of job, number of hours worked each week, job experience, education, and job risk, the actual difference in wages drops to between 2 and 5%!

    And those who have compiled this data say there is no evidence that even the 5% is caused by discrimination. In fact, given the independent and autonomous choices of women that have led to them making less it’s entirely plausible that the remaining 5% is caused by other choices that have not been factored rather than some ethereal patriarchal discrimination.

    What ideologues and their cowardly lackies like Pew Research also fail to address is why would anyone ever hire a man if they could pay women 77cents on the dollar and get the exact same work? What company wouldn’t want to reduce their labor costs by 23%?

    Feminists and other people who parrot this wage gap myth never address this problem because the only possible answer is that either women are not being discriminated against OR women aren’t doing the same quality work as men.

    Whichever you choose, both invalidate the wage gap myth.

  25. Luke1 year ago

    My mother and I were discussing the differences as well… I nake a 60k salary a year with bonus potential upwards of 150k totalling anywhere between 60k and 210k… I am a supervisor in the oilfield. She makes a salary at 42k a year as an office manager in the oilfield. I work in the area of 100-140 hours a week, my mother 36. I have seen women in my field but few. I know the national average pay for my age is around 25k.

    Could it be that most women choose the lower paying jobs for the “french benefits”, being able to miss work for the kids. Im not saying all. But due to the law of averages if women on average makke 16 cents less than men, and say even 25 % have chosen to be moms not just mothers, women make more.

    I think for reasearch purposes of the propseed executive and managerial position, both the males and females whom have chosen lower paying jobs should all be left out, then the comparisons should be based on a say 50 hour work week. I have a feeling we would find that men and women are paid equallly.

    Economics says equis parrabellum or something like it. Means all the remain equal. For true comparisons measurement should be taken from exactly alike catagories where they is no side mathematics to make figures match or seem as they do.

  26. Julian1 year ago

    One of the things not mentioned in the article is the difference in education, particularly with respect to those workers attending graduate school. With the average MBA class comprised of only 17% women, the pay gap is typically going to persist in fields where the degree is beneficial. A number of schools are reaching out to recruit more women, but are competing with life priorities of candidates at the 27-31 year typical age range of an MBA student.

    The other concern is maternity or paternity leave impact. Recently, I noted than an employee out for 4 months on maternity leave, saw her responsibilities reduced when she returned. The reason was that her temporary replacement took the opportunity to shine in her absence and clearly outperformed her, while she was out on maternity leave. If the work place is a meritocracy than shouldn’t the replacement get to keep the new responsibilities? From the perspective of the business, the improved performance is clearly welcomed. I think that whenever someone is away from their job long enough to require a temp, that they run the risk of this happening. If it makes any difference in this situation by the way the temp who stepped in and did a better job was another woman. However, the gender isn’t the important piece, its the question of whether or not positions and roles can and should be guaranteed when someone leaves for an extended period of time including maternity or paternity leave.

    1. Eileen Patten1 year ago

      We have more on the differences in educational attainment among men and women in our longer piece from December (pewsocialtrends.org/2013/12/11/o…).

      In the overview and Chapter 1, you can see that among Millennials ages 25-32, more women than men have at least a bachelor’s degree (38% vs. 31%), and among Millennials ages 18-24, more women than men are enrolled in college (45% vs. 38%). Today women make up about half (49%) of the college-educated workforce, compared with 36% in 1980. As this new group of young women emerges into adulthood with higher educational attainment than their male counterparts and an almost closed pay gap — at 93% — it will be interesting to see how gender pay gap story plays out over their working lives.

      Also of interest from the survey chapters of that report is the attitudes and opinions of college-educated women. Women with a bachelor’s degree or higher are much more likely than women with less education to say men generally earn more than women for the same work (73% vs. 55%). They are also more likely than men with a college education (55%) to say this. And a larger share of college-educated women also see barriers for women in getting top executive jobs in business and government — 71% say this is easier for men, compared with 47% of less educated women and 50% of college-educated men. And looking just at the college-educated Millennial women alone, they largely agree — 72% of college-educated Millennial women say it is easier for men to get top executive jobs in business or government these days and 69% say men generally earn more than women for the same work.

      1. Jean Valjean1 year ago

        So you are saying that college wage women are saying that they believe they are making less? Why wouldn’t they say that? The wage gap myth has been repeated a million times over the last 50 years. When anyone says it’s a lie they are called a misogynist and what interest would a woman have in refuting it if it means she can get something she didn’t earn or explain away her own failures and choices?

        Let’s be frank here. Nearly every problem women face is ALWAYS someone elses fault. Why is that? No matter how much control and opportunity a woman has, if things don’t work out she’s a victim. Have you or anyone else ever considered that this mindset is actually what reinforces the idea that women are not as good as men?

        Also, you are attempting to insinuate that all the college educated women should be making as much or more than men. That would be true if not for two very important things.

        1. The US has a glut of college educated people who work in coffee shops and bag groceries.
        2. Women overwhelmingly avoid STEM fields and choose sociology and psychology majors which rarely pay well whereas the males in their cohort choose STEM and then go into those occupations.

        Even men who never go to college will make more than many college educated women because of some very good reasons.
        1. They choose jobs that are more risky and therefore pay more.
        2. They choose jobs that have more hardship like travel or work outdoors.
        3. They work longer hours. On average men work more hours per week and are paid more overtime hours.
        4. Women demand it! Women are still hypergamist and 50 years of feminism has done nothing to change the fact that almost every woman wants to marry a man who makes more money than she does. This innate and widespread discrimination against men on the part of women is the reason why men work harder and make more money because they know women won’t want us if we don’t. It’s also one of the reasons women do most of the child care because men are more reluctant to give up the identity that women insisted we have as a prerequisite to them choosing us in the first place. That’s already an easy choice to make since almost always the husband is making more than the wife. His hard work affords her the opportunity to slow down and enjoy a balanced life.

        And feminism allows her to throw that back in his face years later when she wants to cash out of the marriage and claim she’s been oppressed and forced to give up her career.

        There is no wage gap. There is just women who complain about everything and blame men for it because that has always been the way women got things they didn’t actually want to earn themselves.

      2. thomas12 months ago

        It will be interesting indeed, especially when the value of a university or college degree is not the guarantor of a ‘richer’ life these days. As Ken Robinson said in a TED talk, we have academic inflation where you need to a Masters degree as a minimum to take on entry jobs.

        I feel sorry for these women who are supposedly academically superior to men because of their higher post-secondary education attainment. Soon women will realize they dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an education they could have obtained for $1.50 in late chahges at the public library!

      3. Kevin7 months ago

        Just because they say it (easier for men to get to the top) does not mean it is true. 9 of the 10 lowest paying college degrees are predominately women graduates. This and life choices are the primary drivers of the so called pay difference. Like a previous comment said, if companies could lower their payroll 23% by replacing men with women then men would never get a job.

  27. Joel1 year ago

    Who the heck taught these people how long months are?
    Case 1: “…work approximately 60 extra days, or about three months…”
    Case 2: “…it would take approximately 40 days, or until the end of February…”
    Case 3: “…had to work approximately 90 days, roughly into the beginning of May…”

    Actual numbers. 1: 3 months is about 90 days. 2: The end of February is 31+28=59. 3: The beginning of May would be 31+28+31+30=120 days.

    1. Eileen Patten1 year ago

      For this analysis, we are calculating months it would take for women to close the gap using only the working days in that month. So January, for example, has 31 days, but 8 of those days are weekends and two more (NYE and MLK) are typical work holidays, so only 21 of the days in January counted towards the number of extra days women had to work into the new year to earn what men did in the previous year since they were likely only working those 21 days.

      1. Jean Valjean1 year ago

        Eileen, even if that’s so then they should have chose a different analogy. When they decided to stretch the perception of time out to make it seem more serious they stopped being honest and ethical researchers and started being ideologues engaged in hyperbole and propaganda.

    2. Jean Valjean1 year ago

      These are feminists friend. They make these numbers up.

      There is a reason why women avoid STEM.

      It’s because you can’t get the answer to complex mathematics by crying or blaming the patriarchy.

      1. Lala2 months ago

        As a woman currently studying sciences in university, what once was a male dominated area of study has diversified with gender and race. Young women are feeling less disadvantaged at learning and overcoming the stereotype threat of poor performance in math/sciences. Maybe the current work force is more male domineering but that will unlikely be the case in years to come. So please, this is a tired argument, and becoming more and more inaccurate.

    3. Edward11 months ago

      The math isn’t wrong its based of a 5 day work week… so if you work 6 its less days.

  28. michael1 year ago

    I agree with Kathleen.

    I wonder what happens to the wage data when comparable number of actual work-months is factored in? That is, if you were to compare women with 240 working months in their history to men with the same number, what would the wage difference be?

    SSA has this data. I wonder if they have a way to aggregate it for researchers.

  29. Kathleen1 year ago

    The point that a lot of people seem to be missing is that it is EQUAL pay for EQUAL work that women like myself are after. If two people of different genders have the same job, same work experience, work the same number of hours, and contribute the same amount, then why are women statistically paid less than men? It’s great that the gap is decreasing, but the fact of the matter is it shouldn’t exist at all.

    At the same time I believe men should have paternity leave when they have a child, should not be penalized if they need to take time off to care for their family, and should not be passed up for promotions, raises, ect. if they prioritize their family over their job. The name of the game is equality. Neither women, men, nor minorities should be discriminated against in the workplace. Period.

    1. Shawna1 year ago

      O_O do you understand the problem at all?? Women are not paid less than men for equivalent work. A male security officer working ten hours makes the exact same wages that a female security officer does.

      The problem being addressed here is that on average women’s annual income is lower than the average man’s because a higher number of women choose fields that pay less.

      A woman working as a secretary is going to make less than an engineer who is making skyscrapers.
      There is a real problem if a secretary who gets coffee and writes up memos, makes the same annual salary as the highly educated engineer who has to design and supervise the building of a multimillion dollar building.

      This is called reality, stop making women out to be victims or we’ll never be equal.

    2. mysterman7 months ago

      There really isn’t a wage gap. The statistic shows a wage gap because there are discrepancies that is not considered that men and women undertake.

      A woman who takes 9 months off due to pregnancy compared to a man whose been working those 9 months while she’s off and both do the same type of work. There will be a discrepancy here since she’s been off for 9 months and hasn’t been earning anything since, while the man has been working for the past 9 months. Would you say there’s a wage gap? Of course but not because she’s a woman, but due to the fact that she’s been off work for 9 months while the man has been working for the 9 month period.

      A surgeon is not a surgeon. Did the study considered that a general surgeon isn’t going to earn the same wage as a brain surgeon or a heart surgeon. The same with a corporate accountant to a general accountant. Did the study considered these discrepancy when comparing the same type of work?

      “…Neither women, men, nor minorities should be discriminated against in the workplace.” Kathleen
      The issue is that you believe it and a lot of people believe it. Eventually you’ll have someone in politics who will push for this fairness and in the end it’s not women that get’s discriminated but men.

  30. Anthony Barnes1 year ago

    One of many things that needs to happen is that men should be allowed as much time off as women after their mates have had a child. Another is that women should be encouraged to go into higher paying fields. Also, employees should be allowed to compare pay without facing retaliation by employers. That way they’ll be better able to detect pay discrepancies. Furthermore, the government could offer more childcare services to women so that caring for their children won’t impact their jobs and careers as much. Things like this will reduce whatever the gender pay gap may be. It’s not enough to say it’s their own fault women earn less. Let’s help them.

  31. JohnnyK1 year ago

    There has been equal pay in my work world since I entered it in 1972. First in the military and then in sales. I contend that it is the work field women chose that holds them back financially. When I sold furniture at the same time as my wife she outsold me every day. Consequently her pay was higher than mine. Professional positions will pay the same no matter the gender when all other factors are equal. Taking time off definately impacts earning potential.
    Once again the government wishes to inject “fairness” through legislation instead of looking at reality. The chart in the article is quite encouraging in that younger women (at 93%) have received the message – get into professions that pay more and succeed. Success is the key, excel at what you do and the income will follow. My 36 year old daughter is an example of this.
    This movement is nothing more than an attempt by the Democrats to inject another wedge issue into the 2014 mid-term elections, thereby countering some of the lost votes from the Obamacare debacle by garnishing a higher percentage of the female vote. This is why you see the 77% number coming out of the White House. They will skew the numbers any way they can every time.
    I am glad Ms. Patten shares the facts with the charts and text and not just echo the administration’s numbers. That is journalism and not propaganda.

  32. Kevin1 year ago

    An excellent article! You can find even more statistics on the reasons behind gender-based pay differences at work-equity.org. Women work significantly fewer hours than men, especially during the years between 25-40.

    If there was an “Equal Work Day” in 2014, statistics show that it would fall on April 10!

    1. Eileen Patten1 year ago

      I hadn’t thought about measuring the time into the new year based on the difference in hours worked — very interesting! Thanks for sharing that perspective.

  33. Rich1 year ago

    Men and women do different jobs. For instance men do more dangerous jobs as they make up over 90% of workplace deaths and accidents. To take something like gross income and not examine the many variables that leads to an outcome is irresponsible

    1. steve davis1 year ago

      This doesn’t explain why men and women are paid differently while doing the SAME JOB.

      1. Jac1 year ago

        Maybe you missed the part about taking extended absences from their job for various reasons….this affects pay which is often increased by a small percentage each year…

        1. Sarah8 months ago

          Lots of women don’t do this, and they *still* earn less. Many don’t get these small increments each year either!

  34. Article Comment1 year ago

    This is an incorrect conclusion from the facts:

    “This week, Senate Democrats also plan to again bring forward the proposed “Paycheck Fairness Act,” a bill that aims to eliminate the pay gap between female and male employees. Both men and women see a need for moves such as this – 72% of women and 61% of men said “this country needs to continue making changes to give men and women equality in the workplace,” according to a Pew Research Center survey last fall.”

    The author has not shown that people approve of *this* particular method. People approve of equality in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean unequal treatment if women are more likely to take time off to raise children. How would a women without children feel if her counterpart who took 5 years out of the workforce to raise kids got compensated the same despite different experience levels?

    1. Bill1 year ago

      Excellent point!

    2. David Stout11 months ago

      “How would a women without children feel if her counterpart who took 5 years out of the workforce to raise kids got compensated the same despite different experience levels?” – I’m embarrassed to say that I’d never thought of it like that. I’d thought in terms of men staying versus women leaving for child rearing and returning to their careers. It’s a fair point that NOT leaving the workforce is a choice women make too – and should be able to reasonably be expected to be better compensated for making.