Today is Equal Pay Day, the date that marks the extra days that a woman would have to work in this year in order to earn what a man earned last year. The symbolic day is marked each year to draw attention to the gender pay gap. The American Association for University Women (AAUW) reports that nationally, women earn on average 77 percent of men’s earnings.
AAUW’s recent report, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (PDF), shows that the pay gap varies among states. The pay gap is lowest in Washington, DC, where women make 91% of men’s earnings. The widest pay gap was found in Wyoming, where women earn only 64% of what men earn. A 2007 AAUW study found that controlling for various demographic differences, a 5 percent gender gap in pay remains for the first year out of college and a 12 percent gap remains ten years out of college.
According to the report, demographics such as college major, occupation, work experience, age, and marital status account for only some of the demonstrated differences. Fatima Goss Graves, vice president of education and employment for the National Women’s Law Center, told MSNBC that “There’s always a portion [of the gap] that cannot be explained away.”
MSNBC 4/17/12; Huffington Post 4/17/12; Feminist Daily News Wire 4/12/12; The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap 4/12