Fact Sheets

Women who work full time, year round are typically paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. This gap in earnings translates into $10,470 less in median annual earnings, leaving women and their families shortchanged. The wage gap is even more substantial when race and gender are considered together, with African American women typically making only 63 cents, Latina women only 54 cents, and Native American women only 58 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. While Asian American women experience a smaller wage gap, they still make only 85 cents for every dollar made by white non-Hispanic men. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and other civil rights laws has helped narrow the wage gap over time, closing the remaining gap is crucial for women and their families.

The Gender Wage Gap Persists

  • In 2015, women in the United States working full time, year round were typically paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to men working full time, year round.
  • The wage gap has stagnated, remaining statistically unchanged since 2007.
  • The wage gap is even more substantial when race and gender are considered together. In 2015, African American women working full time, year round were typically paid only 63 cents, Latina women were paid only 54 cents, and Native American women were paid only 58 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men who worked full time, year round. This translates into an annual loss of $21,001 for African American women, $26,095 for Latina women, and $23,356 for Native American women. Closing the wage gap is, therefore, particularly important for African American, Latina, and Native American women who are already more likely to have lower incomes and to be in poverty than many other groups of women and all groups of men. While the wage gap for Asian American women is smaller—they are still paid only 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men—for some subgroups of Asian American women, the wage gap is much larger.
  • The wage gap persists at all levels of education. In 2015, women in the United States with only high school diplomas working full time, year round were typically paid only 75 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. Among people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, the figure was only 72 cents. In fact, a woman who has received only an associate’s degree still is typically paid less than a man who only graduated from high school.
  • The wage gap is even larger for women workers with caregiving responsibilities—and mothers in particular. In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, mothers who worked full time, year round typically made only 73 cents for every dollar paid to fathers. Women with caregiving responsibilities face persistent discrimination in the workplace. A 2007 study found that, when comparing equally qualified women candidates, women who were mothers were recommended for significantly lower starting salaries, perceived as less competent, and less likely to be recommended for hire than non-mothers. The effects for fathers were just the opposite—fathers were actually recommended for significantly higher pay and were perceived as more committed to their jobs than non-fathers.
  • The wage gap compounds over the course of a woman’s lifetime. Based on the 2015 wage gap, a woman who worked full time, year round for a 40-year career would typically lose $418,800 to the wage gap. A woman would have to work more than ten years longer to make up this gap. A woman working full time, year round who started, but did not finish, high school would typically lose $378,920 over a 40-year period compared to a man with the same education level, an enormous amount of money for women who are typically paid just $22,670 a year. A woman would have to work nearly seventeen years longer to make up this gap.

Published On: September 14, 2016Associated Issues: Equal Pay & the Wage GapMeasuring the Wage GapWorkplace