What Is the Real Gender Wage Gap? Long-Term Analysis Shows It's Greater Than Thought

By Anna Orso Philadelphia Inquirer | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), December 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

What Is the Real Gender Wage Gap? Long-Term Analysis Shows It's Greater Than Thought


Anna Orso Philadelphia Inquirer, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


When Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order aimed at improving the state's gender wage gap in June, he held up a plastic bag with 79 cents in it to visualize how much women make on average for every dollar earned by a man.

Apparently, Wolf could have taken 30 cents out of that bag and it might have been more accurate.

A new study out of a Washington, D.C.-based think tank suggests the national gender wage gap is far greater than the figures often bandied about by policymakers and women's advocates. When studied over time, women actually make about 49 cents for every dollar a man does.

The study, released this week by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, takes a wider look at the issue than other researchers who calculate the wage gap by comparing annual salary or hourly wages. Instead, the researchers examined wages in three 15-year periods since 1968 as an aggregate, rather than comparing earnings for full-time workers in a single year. That means the long-term study accounted for workers who dropped out of the labor force temporarily, showing women were far more likely to take time off for child or family care, and their earnings losses for that time were greater than men's. …

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