Women who work full time, year round in the U.S. are typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, which translates into a loss of $10,169 in median earnings every year. What does that mean over a lifetime?

A 20-year old woman just starting full time, year round work today stands to lose $406,760 over a 40-year career compared to her male counterpart. And when her male counterpart retires at age 60 after 40 years of work, she would have to work nearly 10 additional years – until almost age 70, which is past Social Security’s full retirement age – to close this lifetime wage gap.

The situation is even worse when looking at how some women of color fare compared to white, non-Hispanic men. Over a 40-year career, Black women typically lose $946,120, Native women typically lose $977,720, and Latinas typically lose more than $1.1 million compared to white, non-Hispanic men. In order to close these lifetime wage gaps, Black women would have to work nearly 26 years longer than the white, non-Hispanic man retiring at age 60, Native women would have to work nearly 30 years longer, and Latinas would have to work more than 35 years longer. In other words, Black, Native, and Latina women must work well into their 80s or 90s to catch up to what a white, non-Hispanic man made by age 60, delaying their retirement even beyond their life expectancy.

And depending on the state in which she lives, some women of color must work past age 100 in order to catch up to white, non-Hispanic men.5 Women and their families cannot afford to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to the wage gap, and no woman should have to work until she dies in order to close it. It’s well past time to close the wage gap.

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