2 Center for American Progress | Explaining the Gender Wage Gap
Is the 77-cent figure accurate?
Like all saisics, he 77-cen saisic ells a paricular sory. I’s calculaed by dividing he median earnings o ull-ime, year-round, working women by he median earnings o ull-ime, year-round, working men, all rounded o he neares $100. Te wage gap looks slighly diﬀeren depending on which daa source is used in he calculaion. Oucomes look marginally diﬀeren, or example, depending on wheher weekly or annual earnings are compared. Annual daa or 2012, he laes year or which daa are available, esimae ha women earn 77 percen o wha men do or working ull ime, year round,
while weekly daa pu he esimae a 82.1 percen.
Bu his is no an issue unique o calculaing he gender wage gap, since mos saisics vary slighly when pulling daa rom diﬀeren sources using diﬀeren measures o analysis. Similarly, he esimae o he median annual wage or all ull-ime workers regardless o gender$45,535 in 2012
is no he same as he median weekly wage or all ull-ime workers$765 o $772 depending on he quarer
muliplied by 52.Te annual wage-gap saisic average is compiled by grouping ogeher many peopleand, as such, i has is caveas. In real lie, men and women ofen do no hold he same jobs. Neiher do hey, on average, have he same years o experience, work he same hours, or equally share he responsibiliy o childbirh and child care. All o hese acors ranslae, o diﬀeren degrees, ino lower pay. And i’s all o hese acors coming ogeherin he same way ha hey do in real lieha gives he 77-cen comparison meaning. Te varied acors ha inﬂuence he wage gapdiﬀeren jobs, diﬀeren hours, and diﬀeren work hisoriesare no purely he resul o women’s choices. Tere are signiﬁcan srucural acors ha inﬂuence he deci-sions working women make ha resul in lower pay, and hese deserve as much atenion as over discriminaion.
What explains the wage gap
One o he larges driving acors o he gender wage gap is he ac ha men and women, on average, work in diﬀeren indusries and occupaions; his accouns or up o 49.3 percen o he wage gap, according o some esimaes.
Women are much more likely han men o be clusered in jus a ew occupaions, wih nearly hal o all working women44.4 percenemployed in jus 20 occupaions, including secrearies and adminisraive assisans, regisered nurses, and school eachers. Meanwhile, only abou one-hird34.8 perceno men are employed in he op 20 occupaions or male workers, including ruck drivers, managers, and supervisors.