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Home  > Article

The Paycheck Gender Gap

By Careerbuilder

A woman's work is never done though you might not know it to look at her paycheck.

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, women make on average 25 percent less than men. This is, however, a marked improvement over 1970, when women made 41 percent less.

It Varies By Race

The pay gap differs by race, with the earnings of white women being just 72 percent of those of white men; black women making 82 percent as much as their male counterparts; and Hispanic women earning 83 percent of what Hispanic men earn. The Rutgers School of Management Relations says this is primarily because white men still earn the most among all groups of workers.

It's Wider Among Professionals
Regardless of educational level, men out-earn women. For example, in 2000, college educated women earned just $5,000 more a year than male high school graduates.

While education has a major positive effect on the earnings of both sexes, it is particularly strong for men. Interestingly, the wage gap is largest among the most highly educated groups.

A researcher exploring the pay and promotion gap among statisticians attributed this to women not wanting to put themselves forward as candidates for competition. She found that while most women did not apply for higher jobs because they believed they needed more time and preparation, ironically, those who did apply actually had more success than their male counterparts.

While causes of the gender pay gap are complex and include work/family choices, data on women's dramatically lower recognition in domains where their talents and achievements are equal to men's imply there is a tendency to undervalue a woman's work and contributions.

Occupation Matters
The gap appears in all occupations, however it is largest in the category of medicine and health management, where women earn just 63 percent of what men do. Even in predominantly female medical fields like nursing (9 out of 10 RNs are women), female nurses still earn just 88 of what male nurses make.

Jobs with the smallest gender pay gaps include legal assistants, where women earn 96 percent of what men do, as well as male-dominated occupations like engineering, where women earn 89 percent as much as men, and police and detective work, where women earn 83 percent as much as men.

According to Labor Department figures, women who choose non-traditional careers such as dentists (just 20 percent are women) or airline pilots or navigators (less than 4 percent are female), can expect to have lifetime earnings that are 150 percent higher than those of women who choose traditional careers.

Pay Vs. Satisfaction
Despite the pay gap, according to several studies, women are actually more satisfied at work!'s recent "Pulse of the Worker" survey found that despite receiving lower raises, fewer bonuses, and having lower expectations for being promoted, women were more likely than men to report that, overall, they are happy with their jobs.

Who said a woman is never satisfied?

Copyright 2008 All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

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