Equal Pay For Equal Work?

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Feb 7, 2010    •    660 Views

Having read that “Women Now A Majority In American Workplace” (NY Times, 2/6/10, A10), I wondered how much the wage differential had changed from the 1980s when women’s weekly earnings averaged close to 70 percent of men’s. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research had some interesting numbers in a recent publication.

1. On average, men earn more than women. Looking at the 500 occupations in which data has been analyzed, only five have women earning as much or more than men.
2. Women’s earnings as a percent of men’s: 79.94 percent (Women/$638 v. Men/$798)
3. Women earn less than men in the ten most common jobs women hold.
4. In high paying occupations, women earn less than men.
5. Examples of median weekly earnings (2008):
Secretaries: Women/$638 Men/$798
Elementary school teachers: Women/$871 Men/$994
Pharmacists: Women/$1647 Men/$1914
Lawyers: Women/$1509 Men/$1875

The Economic Lesson
Labor force statistics include Participation Rates. Defined as a statistic that compares the size of the labor force to its potential total, female participation rates recently have been 60 percent while male participation rates were close to 75 percent. Figures are for 2008 from the Census Bureau’s 2010 Statistical Abstract, Table 579.

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