Gender Wage Gap by Occupation: Women are Four Times More Likely than Men to Work in Jobs with Poverty-Level Wages

IWPR released an analysis finding that 6.5 million women work in occupations that have full-time median earnings below the federal poverty threshold for a family of four, compared with 1.7 million men. Women earn more than men in only four occupations of the 119 with enough data to calculate a wage gap (police and sheriff’s patrol officers, office clerks, data entry keyers, and wholesale and retail buyers). Women in the vast majority of occupations—108 of 119—earn at least five cents less on the dollar than men in the same occupation.

Across occupations, the widest gender wage gap is in finance, where male ‘securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents’ are paid nearly twice as much as women, who make 52.5 cents for every dollar earned by men in the same occupation.

Read coverage of the findings in Vox, “The gender wage gap isn’t about women’s choices. It’s about how we value their work.”

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5 Points to Bring Up to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap

IWPR published a post by IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Vice President & Executive Director Barbara Gault, and Program Director Ariane Hegewisch, which outlined five points to remember about gender wage gap statistics. The authors argue, “Just because the explanation of the gender wage gap is multi-faceted does not make it a lie.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 22, 2017 Contact: Jennifer Clark | 202-785-5100 |

In 13 U.S. States, a Woman Born Today Will Not See Equal Pay During Her Working Life

If current trends continue, women living in North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana, and Wyoming will not see equal pay until the next century

Washington, DC—According to a new state analysis released today by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), there are 13 states where progress on closing the gender wage gap is so slow that a woman born in 2017 will not see equal pay during her working life.

Nationally, women make 80 cents for every dollar earned by a man. If the earnings of women and men who are employed full-time, year-round change at the rate they have between 1959 and 2015, the gender wage gap in the United States will not close until 2059. The wage gap is projected to close first in Florida in 2038. In four states—North Dakota, Utah, Louisiana, and Wyoming—the wage gap will not close until the 22nd century.

“Women are a significant part of the workforce and economy of every state in the country. A slow crawl toward equal pay is a drag on each state’s economy, not to mention the U.S. economy overall,” said IWPR President Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D.

A recent IWPR analysis found that, if current trends continue, White women will not see equal pay until 2056, while women of color will have to wait much longer: Black women will not see pay equity until 2124, while Hispanic women must wait 231 more years until 2248.

“We will celebrate Equal Pay Day in two weeks on April 4, but there is no place in America where women can hope to see equal pay in the near future,” Dr. Hartmann said. “The United States is one of the most innovative economies in the world. We know that access to better jobs, child care, and paid leave would help close the stubborn wage gap between men and women. We shouldn’t have to wait several decades, even centuries, to solve this problem.”

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts and communicates research to inspire public dialogue, shape policy, and improve the lives and opportunities of women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and experiences.