In the United States, the average working woman earns 79 percent of what the average working man earns. Think of it this way: Women receive $4 for every $5 that is remunerated to men.
When you examine stats about compensation for women of color, that gap widens even further. Black women earn 60 cents on the dollar and Latinas are paid only 55 cents on the dollar.
A quartet of researchers from Harvard, Wellesley, Boston College and Norway’s Institute for Social Research explored Census Bureau data from 1995 to 2008 and found that the average male college graduate by his early forties earns roughly 55 percent more than the average female college graduate in the same age cohort.
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The researchers found that when men and women both keep working at the same company, men see higher salaries sooner. And when they change jobs, as men grow older they move on to higher paying positions and firms more often than women do.
They also identified that while married men and women switch jobs at about the same rate, married men’s career shifts tend to result in higher salary returns than married women’s job changes do. Additionally, jobs in women-dominated roles tend to start with lower pay than male-dominated ones, and that affects salary growth over time.
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For high school graduates without college degrees, the researchers found that as age increases, the wage gap widens. However, the most significant discrepancy occurs during the first five years out of school, at which point the gap is 30 percent.
Though college educated men earn more than college educated women, more women are attending institutions of higher education. More women graduated from college than men for the first time in 2015 — 30.2 percent of women compared to 29.9 percent of men, according to Census data.