Facts about the Pay Gap

Despite progress over the last one hundred years, there is still a pervasive problem in the United States of women being paid less than men.  Here is some information about the gender pay gap:

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, in 2020, women’s annual earnings were 82.3% of men’s.  This gap is even wider for women of color, and even wider still when you only consider men and women who have children.  This gap used to be bigger (women made 57 cents per dollar earned by men in the early 1970’s), but the number has been stalled around 80% for quite a while now.

The pay gap varies by industry, but there are very few industries where women earn more than men on average. According to the most recent data, women earned more than men in 34 of the 550 jobs listed in the census data, and those jobs included both blue-collar and white-collar occupations. Those jobs included social workers and secretarial workers as well as pipe-layers and animal control workers.

Women earn less than men of the same race at every level of education.  Compared with white men with the same education, Black and Latina women with only a bachelor’s degree have the largest gap at 65%, and Black women with advanced degrees earn 70% of what white men with advanced degrees earn. Educational attainment is not enough to close gender earnings gaps. In fact, most women with advanced degrees earn less on average than white men with only a bachelor’s degree.

Unfortunately, the most recent changes to the gender pay gap have been overwhelmingly negative.  The pandemic is estimated to have set women back about 30 years when it comes to the gender pay gap, mainly because so many women left the workforce (whether voluntarily or involuntarily.) In February 2021, women’s labor force participation rate was 55.8% – the same rate as it was way back in April 1987. Women of color and those working in low-wage occupations have been the most impacted, losing the most jobs and the most opportunities for advancement even once the pandemic has ended.

The gender pay gap is a nationwide crisis that cannot be attributed to a single employer, state, or industry.  It is illegal to pay an employee less because of sex, but individual lawsuits against bad-acting employers will not be enough to fix this problem.  However, if you personally believe that you are being paid less than similarly situated male coworkers because you are a woman, you have rights and you should know how to enforce them.  Gold Star Law can discuss your situation with you to see whether you have a potential claim under the Equal Pay Act, Title VII, or any other law that guarantees you a right to be paid fairly.

To talk to Gold Star Law, contact us today.