Gender Pay Gap Virtually Unchanged in U.S.

 Casey Leins

THE GENDER PAY GAP HAS narrowed by less than a nickel in the 21st century, with women today earning 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man in the U.S., according to a report released Tuesday by the American Association of University Women.

This pay gap, defined as the difference in men's and women's median earnings, means women miss out on $500 billion in earnings per year and impacts women across all demographics, though the gap is bigger for women of color and for older age groups, according to the report.

"While the nation's unemployment rate is down, and the number of women working is up, the wage gap is sadly remaining stagnant," AAUW CEO Kim Churches said in a press release. "It's unacceptable. There is no gender differentiation when it comes to quality, skills and talent," she added.

Financial managers, physicians and surgeons and accountants are examples of professions with the largest collective gender pay gaps, AAUW found in the study. Women who are financial managers only make 65 percent of what men holding that title are paid.

Among the professions with the largest percentages of women, retail sales supervisors have the largest pay gap, making 74 cents to the dollar. Registered nurses and elementary and middle school teachers have the lowest pay gap, earning 92 percent of what their male counterparts take home.

The pay gap also varies widely by state. In 2017, women in California who worked full time were paid 89 percent of what men were paid when evaluating median annual earnings. In Louisiana, women earned 69 percent of what men were paid.

Besides Louisiana, Utah, Indiana, Alabama and West Virginia also have some of the highest pay gaps. States with the smallest wage gaps include California, New York, Florida, Delaware and Vermont.

U.S. News & World Report also measured the income gap by gender in its 2018 Best States rankings using 2016 U.S. Census Bureau data. The results were similar, but New York had the lowest gender pay gap, followed by California.

The AAUW report also evaluated states based on their equal pay laws, which were indicative of their gender pay gaps. California, for example, is one of the states with the strongest equal pay laws, whereas Louisiana's are considered weak and Alabama and Mississippi don't have any such laws, according to the report.

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