A new report from the Pew Research Center states that Millennial women are “near parity” with men in in the workplace. They report that young women (ages 25 to 34) had median hourly earnings that were 93 percent of young men’s median hourly earnings. While we would love to welcome the news that young women and men are almost equals in the workplace, there is a lot more to that story.
First, some clarifications about calculations and defining the wage gap:
Pew focuses on hourly wages because women work fewer hours than men and include both full- and part-time workers. They explain their reasons for these choices here.
We at NWLC calculate the wage gap using median annual earnings for full-time, year-round workers only. We do this to control for some of the differences in hours and full-time/part-time status that would otherwise skew the earnings ratio, while still reflecting some of the factors, including occupational segregation and employment discrimination, that prevent women from achieving fair pay.
Using either calculation it is true that younger women experience a smaller gender wage gap than older women. By our calculation, young women who work full-time, year-round are typically paid 88 percent of what their male peers are paid—a wage gap of 12 percent. While this is markedly better than the overall earnings ratio, which has been 77 percent for the last decade(and which Pew calculates at 84 percent using median hourly wages), it is still nowhere near parity.
Young women typically make 88 cents for every dollar young men make. How does this add up?
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau has just released a series of new fact sheets on the economic status of women of color! The Women’s Bureau’s fact sheets bring much needed attention to how women of color are faring in the economy. As we have highlighted, African-American women and Latinas face a larger wage gap than their white female counterparts, a gap that hits single mothers and women in low-wage occupations – and their families – particularly hard. The Women’s Bureau’s fact sheets call attention to these and other important facts about women of color. Read more »
This week the Census released new state data that we used to look at the gender wage gap in earnings for African-American and Hispanic women working full time, year round as compared to white, non-Hispanic men in all 50 states and D.C.
Here are the top 5 things you need to know:
Washington, D.C.’s gender wage gap is the smallest in the nation – but the wage gaps for Hispanic and African-American women in D.C. rank among the ten worst in the country.
Based on these wage gaps, the difference in lifetime earnings between African-American women and white, non-Hispanic men over a 40-year career would be more than $1 million in five states and D.C. For Hispanic women, it would be more than $1 million in 21 states and D.C.
In 2012 women working full-time, year-round made only 77 cents for every dollar that men made — resulting in a wage gap of 23 cents. This means that there has not been progress in closing the gender wage gap in this country in over a decade. But for women of color, the situation is even worse: in 2012 African-American and Hispanic women working full time, year round made only 64 cents and 54 cents respectively for every dollar that non-Hispanic white men made. The persistence of the wage gap is particularly harmful to minority women and their families.
What's more, when it comes to the wage gap experienced by women of color, not all states are created equal. Today the U.S. Census Bureau released new data from the American Community Survey which demonstrate that while women of color experience a significant wage gap in every state, some states are lagging especially far behind. Read more »
In 2012, Wyoming again had the largest wage gap, with women working full time, year round typically making just 63.8 percent of what their male counterparts made.
Both Louisiana (66.9 percent) and West Virginia (69.9 percent) also had wage gaps of 30 cents or more. The gap in Wyoming amounts to $18,780 annually — equivalent to more than half of the typical woman's earnings in Wyoming in 2012.
In 2012, theDistrict of Columbia once again had the smallest wage gap— women working full time, year round in the nation’s capital, were typically paid 90.1 percent of what their male counterparts were paid.
In 2012, the poverty rate for women was 14.5 percent, substantially higher than men’s rate of 11 percent. Nearly 17.8 million women lived in poverty last year.
Poverty rates were particularly high for families headed by single mothers – more than four in ten (40.9 percent) were poor. More than half (56.1 percent) of poor children lived in female-headed families in 2012.
The poverty rates for other vulnerable groups of women were also high: black women (25.1 percent), Hispanic women (24.8 percent), and women 65 and older living alone (18.9 percent).
The wage gap figures also paint a bleak picture for many women.
The cold hard facts are that women working full time, year round continue to be paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, and the numbers are far worse for women of color, at 64 cents for black women and 54 cents for Hispanic women.
With women as primary breadwinners in over 40% of families today, women and their families simply cannot afford to make do with less.
77 cents on the dollar – does that have a familiar ring to you? You guessed it—it’s the amount that women working full time, year round typically made for every dollar that men made in 2012. It’s now been more than a decade with no progress on narrowing the wage gap. That means that American women have been working for over a decade without seeing the wage gap diminish. The wage gap typically cost women $11,608 in 2012. Based on the 2012 wage gap, over the course of a 40-year career a woman would lose $464,300.
The wage gap is even worse for women of color:
In 2012, African-American women working full time, year round were typically paid only 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
Hispanic women working full time, year round were typically paid only 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
The exclusion of home care workers from the FLSA is emblematic of all that is wrong with the way our society values (or doesn’t value) women’s work. This 90% female workforce does vitally important work for their clients, such as bathing, clothing, and administering medication. Yet, this work – like work in many female-dominated jobs – is among the most poorest paid. Home care workers typically earn below $10 an hour.
In 1975, only one year after Congress extended the FLSA’s protections to domestic workers employed by individual households, the Department of Labor took these protections away from home care workers through an expansive reading of the “companionship” exemption. This interpretation was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007, and home care workers and their advocates have been clamoring for the rule released today ever since. Read more »
Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will release new data on poverty, income, and health insurance in the U.S. in 2012. As we get ready to crunch numbers, we thought it would be helpful to take a deeper look at what these numbers tell us – and don’t tell us – about the wage gap.
The wage gap figure that NWLC reports at the national level is the same as that reported by the Census Bureau – the median earnings of women full-time, year-round workers as a percentage of the median earnings of men full-time, year-round workers. Median earnings describe the earnings of a worker at the 50th percentile – right in the middle. Earnings include wages, salary, net self-employment income but not property income, government cash transfers or other cash income – so basically the money people see in their paychecks. Working full time is defined as working at least 35 hours a week and working year round means working at least 50 weeks during the last twelve months. Read more »