Mind the Gap

The Economic Case for Equal Pay

Pedestrians walk past the outside of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, September 2018 Lucas Jackson / REUTERS

Each year in early April, women in the United States mark Equal Pay Day, the date on which their earnings finally reach the amount American men took home the previous year. Women who hold year-round, full-time jobs earn, on average, 20 percent less than their male counterparts, the equivalent of 80.5 cents on the dollar. The gender wage gap is widest for African American and Hispanic women, who make just 61 and 53 percent, respectively, of what white non-Hispanic men earn. And although the gap is decreasing overall, progress is slow. At the current rate, American women will not reach pay equity with men until 2106.

The United States is not alone: the wage gap between the sexes is a global phenomenon. Indeed, in not a single country do women earn as much as men. According to the World Economic Forum, women around the world are paid on average just 63 percent of what men earn.

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