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60+ Wage Gap Statistics in 2023: Gender & Racial Gap

Minority workers and women have faced systematic inequality for decades. This disparity was recently worsened, reversing any progress due to the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 disruption highlighted the vulnerabilities and disproportionately affected women and people of color, leaving many unemployed. Because of societal norms, women were forced to leave the workforce and take on caretaking roles, making women’s labor participation hit a 33-year low. The wage gap statistics below highlight the inequality and show we are still far from closing the pay gap.

What is a Wage Gap?

The gender or wage gap refers to the difference in earnings between workers with similar job characteristics based on their gender or race. The pay gap exists in every profession, for every age group, and at every educational level. There has been an enormous amount of evidence and data suggesting that women, especially women of color, consistently earn less than men for no other attainable reason besides gender or race. These differences may seem small but can amount to hundreds of thousands and more over a lifetime of earnings.

COVID-19 Widening the Wage Gap

  • In 2021, women’s participation in the workforce hit a 33-year-low due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Hill, 2021)
  • More than 2.3 million women lost their job or were forced to leave due to caretaking roles; in comparison, only 1.8 million men were forced to leave the labor force. (The Hill, 2021)
  • With over 5.3 million net job losses, women’s employment has taken a harder hit than their male counterparts. (NWLC, 2021)
  • Unemployed men who returned to the workforce saw higher job offers than unemployed women returning to the workforce. (Payscale, 2022)
  • During COVID-19, women experienced steeper pay cuts than men, widening the gap’s range between $0.80-0.88. (Payscale, 2022)
  • 11.9 million women lost their jobs between February and April 2020. (NWLC, 2022) 
  • In February 2022, more than 1.1 million women were out of the labor force compared to February 2020. (NWLC, 2022) 

Equal Pay Day

  • In 2021, Equal Pay Day was March 24, which indicated how many days women had to work to make the same amount of money as men in 2020. (DOL, 2021)
  • To earn what white, non-Hispanic men earned in 2020, Asian American and Pacific Islander women had to work until March 9. (DOL, 2021)
  • For Black women, Equal Pay Day is on August 3. (DOL, 2021)
  • Native American women have to work until September 8 this year to make the same amount of money as men did in 2020. (DOL, 2021)
  • For Latinas, Equal Pay Day is more than nine months into the year on October 21. (DOL, 2021)
  • In 2022, Equal Pay Day fell on March 15. (US Census Bureau, 2022) 
  • For Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women to earn the same as men, they had to work until May 3. (AAUW, 2022) 
  • Equal Pay Day for Black Women was September 21. (AAUW, 2022) 
  • Latinas had to work until December 8 to make the same as men. (AAUW, 2022) 
  • Equal Pay Day for mothers fell on September 8. (AAUW, 2022) 
  • Native women’s Equal Pay Day was almost at the end of the year, on November 30. (AAUW, 2022) 

Economic Inequality

  • The US is in fifth place out of all the OECD countries by gender inequality. (OECD, 2021)
  • In the US, there is an 18.2% difference in full-time earnings between men and women. (OECD, 2021)
  • In 2020, women earned 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. (U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2020)
  • The top jobs with the highest inequality pay are waitresses ($0.78), bartenders ($0.87), media workers ($0.87), police officers ($0.90), and surgeons ($0.90). (Payscale, 2022)
  • The global gender gap in 2022 is 31.9%. (WEF, 2022) 
  • The gender wage gap in the US is 16.9%. (OECD, 2022) 
  • For every dollar a man earned, a woman got 0.82 cents. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • In 2021, 3,506 men made over $250,000 compared to 1,266 women. (US Census Bureau, 2022) 
  • The longer women are unemployed, the greater the wage gap is. Thus, among those out of work for less than three months, the gap is 0.83 cents on the dollar. The gap widens to 0.70 cents among those unemployed for more than 24 months. (Payscale, 2022) 

Qualifications & Professions

  • Out of nearly 350 occupations, women earn slightly more than men in only a few professions, such as health care workers. (Women’s Bureau, 2019)
  • Most women with advanced degrees earn less than white men with only a bachelor’s degree. (US Department of Labour Blog, 2021)
  • A woman, doing the same level job as a man, with the same qualifications and experience is paid 2% less. (Payscale, 2022)
  • 15 out of 20 of the highest-paying professions are dominated by men, whereas 14 out of 20 of the lowest-paying professions are dominated by women. (AAUW, 2020)
  • The most significant pay gap is among the financial services sales’ agents, financial managers, and financial advisers, with a pay ratio ranging 61-67% between men and women. (AAUW, 2020)
  • Even working women in unions are paid only 89 cents to unionized working men. (Economic Policy Institute, 2016)
  • Women earn 99 cents for every dollar men earn in the same job and with the same qualifications. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • The higher a woman climbs the corporate ladder, the less she makes. Women in executive positions earn 0.73 cents for every dollar a man makes. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • The pay gap in executive positions is even higher for women of color. American Indian and Alaska Native females in executive levels earn $0.61, whereas Hispanic women earn $0.66 on the dollar. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • Even with higher education, there is still pay inequality. The highest gap is among those with MBAs, with women earning 0.76 cents for every dollar a man earns. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • If women don’t have similar qualifications as men in similar jobs, they are always paid less than them. The smallest gap appears among men and women who work as healthcare practitioners and healthcare support, with a 0.02 cents difference. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • Women in legal occupations make far less than men, taking home $0.63 for every dollar a man receives. (Payscale, 2022) 

Racial Wage Gap

  • Black and Hispanic women with a bachelor’s degree earn only 65% of what a white male counterpart with the same educational level does. (U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021)
  • Black women with advanced degrees earn 70% of what white men with advanced degrees do. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021)
  • When compared to non-Hispanic white men, Asian women have the smallest gap in earnings, making 87 cents on the dollar. (Business Insider, 2022)
  • Hispanic women are paid just 52 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic male makes. (National Partnership, 2022)
  • Black women are paid just 60 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. (National Partnership, 2022)
  • When compared to Black men, Black women earn 90 cents of what men do, and Hispanic women make 80 cents of what Hispanic men do. (Business Insider, 2022)
  • Black women are paid just 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. (AAUW, 2020)
  • Relative to white men, all women of color face a wage gap. For American Indian and Alaska Native women, that gap is the highest at $0.71 on the dollar. Black or African American, Native Hawaiian, and other Pacific Islander women make $0.79 for every dollar men earn. The gap for Hispanic women stands at $0.78 on the dollar, whereas Asian women have the lowest gap at $0.97 for every $1.03 white males make. (Payscale, 2022) 

Future Projections

  • In 2021, estimates were that the gender wage gap would not close until 2093 (Tridelta, 2021)
  • Altogether, working women lose out on more than $500 billion every year because of the pay gap. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2018)
  • Lower lifetime earnings lead to lower social security and pension funds, meaning women only have 70% of the retirement income that men do. (AAUW, 2022)
  • On average, a woman with the same career as a man over a period of 40 years makes $850,000 less than a man. (Payscale, 2022)
  • Only 7% of women get a chance to get to an executive-level role at any point in their lives, while 12% of men get an opportunity to do so. (Payscale, 2022)
  • White men’s salaries increase at a much faster rate than other groups as they progress in their career. (Payscale, 2022)
  • According to estimates, the gender pay gap in the US will not close until 2111. (AAUW, 2022) 
  • The World Economic Forum estimates it will take 132 years to close the gender wage gap worldwide. (WEF, 2022) 

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Motherhood Worsening the Wage Gap

  • Mothers are paid 71 cents for every dollar to fathers, which amounts to $16,000 annually. (National Women’s Law Center, 2018)
  • Mothers are paid worst in Utah, where they earn only 58 cents for every dollar fathers make. (National Women’s Law Center, 2018)
  • Full-time working mothers with a high-school diploma make only 68 cents for every dollar a father with a high-school diploma earns. (National Women’s Law Center, 2018)
  • On average, mothers would have to work until June 4 to make the same amount as dads did in 2020. (US Census Bureau, 2020)
  • Women who took just one year off work earn 39% less than women who did not. (AAUW, 2020)
  • Women who are also parents or caregivers earn $0.74 for every dollar a male parent or caregiver receives. (Payscale, 2022) 
  • In the same jobs and with the same qualifications, mothers get 0.98 cents for every dollar fathers earn. (Payscale, 2022) 

The statistics above are just a reminder of the obstacles and barriers women and people of color go through in their careers. By gathering these wage gap statistics, we hope to paint a clearer picture of the racial and gender economic disparity.