- March 24 is Equal Pay Day, which reflects how many extra days women had to work to make as much as men did in 2020.
- The gender wage gap persists, and women make 82 cents for every dollar a man makes.
- These charts show the gap in pay varies widely based on location, race, and several other factors.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Equal Pay Day reflects how many extra days women have to work to earn what men did in the previous year. This year’s Equal Pay Day falls on March 24. The Census Bureau wrote in a recent post that this is “earlier than it’s ever been since its inception in 1996,” suggesting a modest shrinking of the gender pay gap.
Over half a century after the US passed the Equal Pay Act, American women still face a substantial gender wage gap across the spectrum. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that equal pay will not be reached until 2059.
Based on weekly earnings data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the gap has narrowed over time.
In the first quarter of 1979, median weekly earnings for men age 16 and over working full time was $408, compared to $251 for women. That is, women’s weekly earnings were 61.5% of men’s weekly earnings. There has been some progress over the years, and in the third quarter of 2020 women’s weekly earnings were 81.7% of men’s weekly earnings.
Overall, women who were full-time, year-round employees made 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019, based on median earning data from the Census Current Population Survey. That means women are paid 17.7% less than men, earning $10,157 less than men.
The gender wage gap varies widely by state.
According to American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau, the gender pay gap in the United States in 2019 was around 19%. This means that a woman who is at least 16 years old, working a full-time, year-round job, and who is part of the civilian employed population makes 81% as much as her male counterpart earns.
The pay gap varies, however, by state.
In Wyoming, for instance, the gender pay gap is 36.6%, the biggest wage gap in the nation based on those who are part of the “full-time, year-round civilian employed population 16 years and over with earnings” population. That is, median earnings of women who in this state make 63.4% of what men earn. In 33 states, the gender pay gap is larger than the national average.
Vermont had the smallest pay gap in 2019 at 9%, with full-time, year-round women who are at least 16 and part of the civilian employed population making a median salary of $46,641, while men made $51,241.
Major cities show an even bigger discrepancy.
Around the US, salaries in large cities show an even greater range of pay discrepancy between men and women.
The American Association of University Women, a nonprofit that advocates for gender equality, examined how much women earn compared to men in 25 major metro areas using 2019 US Census data from the American Community Survey.
Out of the 25 cities, the narrowest gender wage gap overall is in Los Angeles, where women make approximately 90.6% of the median earnings for men, a pay gap of 9.4%. Detroit had the widest wage gap: Women’s median earnings of $44,486 in this city is 73.8% of men’s earnings of $60,278. That translates to a pay gap of 26.2%.
Overall, Black and Hispanic women face the biggest pay gap when comparing earnings to non-Hispanic white men.
Black and Hispanic women are most affected by the wage gap, especially when compared to non-Hispanic white men, who make up the largest demographic segment of the workforce.
We looked at the wage gap for different racial and ethnic groups using median earnings data for full-time, year-round workers from the US Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.
Asian women face the smallest wage gap — they earn 91.4% of what non-Hispanic white men earned, resulting in a pay gap of just 8.5%. Non-Hispanic white women earn 78.1% of what non-Hispanic white men do, while Black women earn 61.1%. Hispanic women earn 53%, or a pay gap of 47%.
When compared to Black men, Black women earn 90.7% of what men earn, and Hispanic women make 80.6% of what Hispanic men do.
The larger disparity between non-Hispanic white men’s and women of color’s earnings could be attributed to the fact that “women of color suffer both because of their gender and their race,” according to an April 2016 report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee’s Democratic Staff.
Another way of looking at that gap for women of different racial and ethnic groups is to consider when “equal pay day” for each group falls.
Equal Pay Days further vary by race and ethnicity, in line with the pay discrepancies between non-Hispanic white men and women of different races and ethnicities.
The above calendar graphic shows how many days into the next year a woman has to work in order to earn what a non-Hispanic white man would have earned in the previous year, using estimates from the American Association of University Women.
For example, a typical full-time, year-round employed Black female worker starting on January 1, 2020, would have finally earned on August 3, 2021, what a similarly employed non-Hispanic white male worker would have made over the course of 2020 alone. That means Black women have to work around seven extra months to earn the same as non-Hispanic men earned in a single year in 2020.
It takes full-time, year-round employed Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) women the shortest time to make what non-Hispanic white men would have made the year before. It would take a female Asian American or Pacific Islander worker over two extra months in 2021, or until March 9, to earn what a non-Hispanic white man earned the year before.
However, pay gaps for Asian women vary further. Although AAPI women make 85 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men make, an analysis from the Center for American Progress finds Burmese woman makes just 52 cents for every dollar the median non-Hispanic white man makes, for instance.
Read more about equal pay day by race here.
Women with children gain no salary boost, while men with children are rewarded.
In 2015, women with children were earning roughly the same as women without children, $727 and $726 respectively. However, working fathers with children earned about $141 more than a men without children.
That gap has slowly been closing since then, as 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that women with children now make slightly more than women without kids under 18 at home.
Men with children see an earnings boost, and the difference between their weekly take-home pay was typically $189 higher than their counterparts without kids in 2019.
For working women, the difference in earnings between women with and without children is minimal. Working mothers only made $30 compared to other working women in 2019.
While this disparity can be attributed to differences in careers and work hours between men and women who have children and those who do not, a 2016 report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee Democratic Staff says that there is also a difference in how working mothers and fathers are perceived by management.
According to the report, some employers may view motherhood as a “signal of lower levels of commitment and professional competence.” Working fathers, on the other hand, may be viewed as having “increased work commitment and stability.”
Women’s earnings are lower than men’s over the course of a lifetime.
The gender pay gap exists for workers across a lifetime.
Using Census data from the Minnesota Population Center’s IPUMS program, we found that the median full-time, year-round male worker earns more than his female counterpart at every year of age.
The gap is narrower for younger workers, with the median 25-year-old woman earning about 91.1% of the median 25-year-old man. Meanwhile, the median 50-year-old woman earns just 76.9% of her 50-year-old male counterpart.
Women over the age of 75 are almost twice as likely to live in poverty, according to the Senate report. Many women that age didn’t work when they were younger, so they have fewer sources of retirement income than men their age.
In 1950, about 34% of American women were in the labor force, compared to about 86% of men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 1980, the numbers were 52% and 77% respectively — and the numbers have largely plateaued since then.
Before the pandemic, the labor force participation rate for women was around 58% in February 2020 and around 56% in February 2021. The labor force participation rate for men was about 69% in February 2020 and about 67% in February 2021.
The number of women promoted to the highest levels within companies reveals unconscious biases.
Very few women are CEOs of major corporations, or in the C-level suite of executives running corporate America.
Data from a study put together by McKinsey & Co. and Lean In show how men are promoted up, while women fall by the wayside. Based on the latest report, only one in five C-level executives were women. Women of color are furthermore underrepresented at the executive level, making up less than 1 in 30 in the C-suite.
A recent IBM report also finds little change between leadership representation in 2019 and 2021. Based on the survey covering 10 industries from nine different regions, women made up just 10% of C-suite and 8% of executive board positions in 2019 and 2021.
The latest McKinsey report suggested that more women are working in senior positions, but it is still hard for women to move up from entry-level jobs into higher roles. “For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 85 women were promoted,” the report said, which affects the number of women being promoted to higher positions in the corporate pipeline.
However, women consistently ask for promotions and raises more. One of the reasons for the disparity between women asking for promotions and actually getting them was because when women negotiate, people like them less for it, according to a previous McKinsey study, covered by Insider, found.
Harvard Business Review found in its research that women ask for raises just as much as men, but men are more “successful” with their requests, with a success rate of 15% for women and 20% for men.