The American Association of University Women (AAUW), headquartered in Washington, DC, is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. The organization fights to end wage discrimination and open doors for women in the workplace.
Job creation and economic opportunity are critical issues for women, many of whom continue to struggle with economic insecurity and wage discrimination. Despite civil rights laws and advancements in women’s economic status, workplace discrimination still persists.
Typically, women who work full-time take home about 80 cents for every dollar a full-time male worker earns. Over a lifetime (47 working years), the total estimated loss of earnings of women compared with men are $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate, and $2 million for a professional school graduate.
AAUW’s report Graduating to a Pay Gap: The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation found an unexplainable 7% difference in the earnings of male and female college graduates one year after graduation, even after accounting for many factors, including college major, occupation, industry, sector, hours worked, workplace flexibility, experience, educational attainment, enrollment status, GPA, college selectivity, age, race/ethnicity, region, marital status, and motherhood. Clearly, the wage gap exists.
The wage gap persists across all racial and ethnic groups, and it is found in every state. The most recent edition of AAUW’s The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap found that among full-time workers in 2015, Hispanic, American Indian, African American, and Native Hawaiian women had lower median annual earnings compared with non-Hispanic white and Asian American women. The pay gap was largest for Hispanic and Latina women, who were paid only 54% of what white men were paid in 2015.
Pay inequality isn’t just a women’s issue; it is a family issue. Recent research found that 50% of households with children include a mother who is either the sole or primary earner for her family. Pay equity is not just a matter of fairness but the key to families making ends meet. Wage discrimination also limits women’s choices and has real consequences. It impairs their ability to buy homes and pay for a college education and limits their total lifetime earning, thereby reducing their retirement savings and benefits.
Closing the Gap
Increasingly the business community is demonstrating that they are committed to eliminating the gender pay gap. Many employers want to do the right thing; they just need a little help. The AAUW continues to advocate for strong pay equity legislation, regulation, and enforcement to protect employees and assist employers. AAUW also educates the public about this persistent problem and its effect on working families.
Find out more—read and download these additional resources.
Quick Facts on the Gender Pay Gap
The Gender Pay Gap by State and Congressional District
AAUW Policy Guide to Equal Pay in the States
Content shared from AAUW, Empowering Women Since 1881
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