Assessing The Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap may not close for more than 100 years. Experts look at how it's calculated and interpreted for women in the workforce.
Posted at 11:46 AM, Sep 08, 2017

Experts the gender pay gap is not a myth. They believe it happens in every job, in every field. In 2015, the national pay gap between men and women was 20 percent, meaning women make 80 cents for every dollar men make.

"We look at the average earnings of men and women over the course of the year and that's where you see the gap," said Anne Hedgepeth of the American Association of University Women.

AAUW's study says to subtract men's median earnings from women's, then divide that by men's median earnings. 

In 2015, on average, men made $51,212 to women's $40,742. Using the pay gap equation, that amounts to a 20 percent pay gap. Places like New York, Delaware, Florida and D.C. do much better than 20 percent, but Utah, West Virginia, Louisiana and Wyoming are up to 16 percent worse.

"Implicit bias may be occurring in hiring and compensation practices," Hedgepeth said. 

She says sometimes employers do discriminate based on gender alone. Most of the time, however, there are many other factors.

"There are a lot of workplaces that may not do a great job of supporting parents or caregivers and thinking about benefits they man need," Hedgepeth added.

She says types of jobs may also pose an issue. Women who work in traditionally female positions may also see lower wages than traditionally male-oriented positions.

"Occupations that have traditionally not been for women, many of them pay well for both genders," Hedgepeth explained. "But at the end of the day we still see pressures that end in women pursuing those fields in their education, in their careers and experiencing different levels of wages because of it.  

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