Pew Research Center Report Examines the Persisting Gender Pay Gap

A new report from the Pew Research Center examines the persisting gender pay gap. The report finds that the gender pay gap – the difference between the earnings of men and women – has barely closed in the United States in the past two decades. In 2022, American women typically earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. That was about the same as in 2002, when they earned 80 cents to the dollar. The slow pace at which the gender pay gap has narrowed this century contrasts sharply with the progress in the preceding two decades: In 1982, women earned just 65 cents to each dollar earned by men.

Women are now more likely than men to be college educated and have advanced degrees. But the report found that the pay gap between college-educated women and men is not any narrower than the one between women and men who do not have a college degree. The report notes that In 1982, 20 percent of employed women ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education, compared with 26 percent of employed men. By 2022, 48 percent of employed women had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 41 percent of men. Still, women did not see the pay gap close to the same extent from 2002 to 2022 as they did from 1982 to 2002.

A major factor in the pay gap is undoubtedly the result of parenting. Young adult women earn almost as much as men. But as they age the pay gap increases. The report finds that mothers ages 25 to 44 are less likely to be in the labor force than women of the same age who do not have children at home, and they tend to work fewer hours each week when employed. But this isn’t the only factor in the gender pay gap. The authors state that “differential treatment of women, including gender stereotypes and discrimination, may also play a role.”

The authors conclude that “more sustained progress in closing the pay gap may depend on deeper changes in societal and cultural norms and in workplace flexibility that affect how men and women balance their careers and family lives.”

The full report, The Enduring Grip of the Gender Pay Gap, can be accessed here.

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