Tuesday, April 17 is Equal Pay Day, a day to mark the fact that women still only earn 77 percent for each dollar earned annually by men and 82 percent of each dollar earned weekly. A new fact sheet released today by the at Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows that the gender wage gap is a common feature of women’s working lives in nearly all of the most common occupations for women and men.
The fact sheet, based on an analysis of median weekly earnings data across occupations for full-time workers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is released annually by IWPR. It reviews the gender wage gap in the 20 most common occupations for women and for men, and provides earnings data by sex, race, and ethnicity across the seven major occupational groups in the labor force.
IWPR’s research finds that women have lower median earnings than men in all but one of the 20 most common occupations for women, ‘bookkeeping and auditing clerks,’ where women and men have the same median earnings. In one of the twenty most common male occupations, ‘stock clerks and order fillers,’ women out-earned men by 3 percent of median male earnings.
Women working as “property, real estate, and community association managers” face the largest gender earnings gap of all occupations: in 2011 their median full-time weekly earnings were only 61 percent of men in that occupation, $728 compared to $1201 per week. Among the 20 most common occupations for women, “financial managers” face the largest earnings gap ($991 compared to $1,504, an earnings ratio of 65.9 percent). Women who are “chief executives” face the largest earnings gap ($1,464 per week earned by women compared to $2,122) in the 20 most common occupations for men.
“These gender wage gaps are not about women choosing to work less than men — the analysis is comparing apples to apples, men and women who all work full time — and we see that across these 40 common occupations, men nearly always earn more than women,” said Ariane Hegewisch, a Study Director at IWPR. “Discrimination law cases provide us with some insights on the reasons that the wage gap persists: women are less likely to be hired into the most lucrative jobs, and — when they work side by side with men — they may get hired at a lower rate, and receive lower pay increases over the years. Discrimination in who gets hired for the best jobs hits all women but particularly black and Hispanic women.”
Three of the most common occupations for women and two for men have median weekly earnings that, after a full year of full-time work, are still too low to keep a family of four out of poverty. More than twice as many women as men and four out of ten Hispanic women work in occupations that pay poverty wages.
“It is shocking that important occupations such as teaching assistants or nurses, psychiatric and home health aides — stressful and responsible jobs that are critical to the well-being of our society — are likely to leave a woman unable to support her family even when she works full time and year round,” said Dr. Heidi Hartmann, President of IWPR.