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Is the gender pay gap smaller than is being reported? #UnevenProgress

A new study indicates that although the pay gap between genders may not be as high as politicians report, the progress is extremely uneven, depending upon industry.

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78 cents for every 100

Even with the groundbreaking Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act passed seven years ago, the gender pay gap is still very real both in the U.S. and around the world. The White House estimates the average full time female employee makes just 78 cents for every dollar earned by the average male employee.

A comparison of compensation paid to men and women in the U.S. suggests the country’s gender pay gap might be smaller than what is commonly reported. This finding comes from new research published by Glassdoor.

Led by Glassdoor chief economist Andrew Chamberlain, the study analyzed more 500,000 salary reports from its users. According to the site, broadly comparing what the average man makes compared to the average woman can be misleading.

Such results often don’t account for age, education, years of experience, industries in which there are particularly high male or female concentrations or geographic locations.

An apples-to-apples comparison

Glassdoor went a step further in order to get an apples-to-apples comparison. Before adding in statistical controls, Glassdoor found the average full-time female worker makes just 76 cents per dollar what the average male worker earns in the U.S. labor market.

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After adjusting for a handful of variables such as job title, employer, and location, the report found women still get paid less, earning about 95 cents for every dollar earned by men. Even though this finding indicates the gender gap might be smaller, it is no less real or significant.

The finding suggests that female workers make 5.4 percent less than men just for having an extra X chromosome.

The pay gap depends highly upon industry

When it comes down to it, the amount of pay gap disparity all depends on what you do. Men still earn more money than women in most professions. In many individual occupations, the 5 percent pay gap is actually much wider. For instance, women who are computer programmers, chefs, and dentists only earn 72 cents for every dollar men in those same positions earn.

Glassdoor’s report even found a few occupations in which men get paid less on average than women. Women social workers, for instance, earn about $1.08 for every dollar a man earns. Even though they exist, the problem remains that those positions don’t pay nearly as well as the jobs in which men draw top dollar, nor is the reverse pay gap anywhere as big as 28 percent.


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Written By

Nichole earned a Master's in Sociology from Texas State University and has publications in peer-reviewed journals. She has spent her career in tech and advertising. Her writing interests include the intersection of tech and society. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Communication and Media Studies at Murdoch University.



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