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The gender pay gap isn't budging

Self-employed women make 69 cents for every dollar a self-employed man makes.
Posted at 7:48 PM, Mar 17, 2023

Women have made progress in so many ways over recent decades, from education to employment.  

But one thing that’s been stalling in terms of progress? The pay gap — especially when broken down by job type.  

"We and other researchers have found consistently that that women continue to earn less than men and that it varies by industry," said Thomas Costa, the director of education, workforce, and income security at the Government Accountability Office.

Here’s what the latest data show: Self-employed women make 69 cents for every dollar a self-employed man makes.  

Meanwhile, women in the private sector earn a little more – 78 cents for every dollar earned by a male colleague.  

The gap is the smallest in government and non-profit positions showing women make 85 cents for every dollar earned by men.  

 The report also points out the gap is most significant in sectors with a smaller percentage of women. 

Costa, who worked on the GAO report, says the reasons for this aren’t always crystal clear.  

"Is it because of discrimination? Is it because of work experience? Is it because of different occupations? All of those things may, I'm sure, play a factor. It's trying to figure out to what extent those are the key factors," Costa said. 

As researchers continue to narrow down the biggest contributors, experts say there are plenty of solutions that could close the gap — in particular, ones that support women at the same time pay begins to fall.

"Affordable childcare would go a long way in helping close that gap if mothers had access to someone who they knew would be able to take care of their children full time and that they could depend on. Expanding paid leave and fair scheduling policies would go a long way," Costa said. 

In the meantime, experts say some recent efforts like pay transparency laws could be helpful in closing the gap — though it won’t solve the problem alone. 

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