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  1. Blog
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Gender Pay Gap Statistics You Need to Know

Unequal pay hurts us all

Women and men sitting at a meeting table
Photo courtesy of Mapbox

This article is part of InHerSight's Gender Pay Gap series. Women are paid less than men, but the gender pay gap is much more complicated than a paycheck. Dive into the history, data, and intersectionality of gender inequality’s open secret.

According to The American Association of University Women (AAUW), the current gender pay gap in the United States is 82 cents. This means, on average, a woman is paid 82 cents for every dollar a man is paid.

The gender pay gap is not a myth, and there’s no single cause. It varies by state, across industries, and across countries, and it affects women of color disproportionately, mothers too.

A note on Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day’s date each year represents how far into the new year a woman has to work for her pay to even out with what a man brought home the previous working year. This date has slowly moved up the calendar over the past several years, but we’re still a long way from closing the gap and celebrating on December 31.

Let’s dive deeper into some other eye-opening pay gap statistics and further break down the numbers by race, age, occupation, and education level.

Gender pay gap statistics you should know

1. We could add $512 billion to the United States’ GDP if we were to close the gender pay gap. Not only that, the poverty rate for all working women would be cut in half, as would the number of children with working mothers living in poverty.

2. But, the gender pay gap in the United States is not expected to close until 2059. And in some states, like North Dakota, Louisiana, and Wyoming, the pay gap is not expected to close for more than 90 years.

3. Race plays a large role in the pay gap. Equal Pay Day in the United States represents the pay gap for women as a whole, but when you parse pay data by race, the gap can grow much, much larger. The National Partnership for Women and Families conducted research to further break down the gender gap estimates by race. This list represents the earnings for each racial demographic compared to every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns:

  • Asian-American women: $0.90
  • Black women: $0.62
  • Native American women: $0.58
  • Latina women: $0.54

4. So does motherhood. According to a 2017 study from the U.S. Census Bureau, working mothers earn only 75 percent of what their male peers make, and their overall pay tends to decrease with each child. On average, women experience a wage loss of 4 percent for each child, a phenomenon known as the motherhood penalty. Meanwhile, men earn 6 percent more per child, with what’s called the fatherhood bonus.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 17 percent of companies offer paid parental leave and 89 percent offer unpaid. As a result, many working women are forced to take unpaid time away from their jobs, causing the gap between men’s and women’s pay to grow.

In fact, by some analyses, motherhood (or even the potential of motherhood) is the single largest contributor to the gender pay gap, though it does not operate alone.

Read more: Wage or Pay Discrimination: Your Rights, What You Should Know & What to Do Next

5. And disability. Women with disabilities are less likely to be employed than are women with no disability, and when they are, they earn less than their non-disabled peers. According to data from 2017, women with disabilities earn 72 percent of what men with disabilities earn, and 48 percent of what men without disabilities earn.

6. And gender identity. More than 25 percent of respondents to a survey of transgender people reported an income of less than $20,000 annually; another analysis found that 15 percent of transgender people have earnings less than $10,000 annually, compared to 4 percent of the general population. Transgender women see a drop in earnings after transition, while transgender men see no change in earnings or even an increase.

Read more: 6 Positive Research Studies About Working Women

7. The financial losses are significant. For women working full-time year-round, the current wage gap translates to a loss of $10,194 every year, or more than $400,000 over the course of a 40-year career. And that’s just the median.

That loss can be significantly larger when the data is parsed by race, of course, with Black women losing $23,540, Latina women losing $28,036, Native American women losing $6,007, and Asian women losing $6,007 annually.

This earnings deficit means that women are able to put less money into savings and save less money for retirement (which includes contributing less to Social Security).

Read More: What the Gender Pay Gap Means for Asian-American Women

8. The pay gap varies by state . The states range anywhere from a 31 percent wage gap to an 11 percent gap, with Louisiana and Utah exhibiting the widest discrepancy to California and New York boasting the smallest.

9. Age plays affects women’s earnings as well. The wage gap starts as soon as girls enter the workforce, with an average 13 percent for 16–19 year olds. The disparity continues to increase after the age of 34, and women 65 and over face a 27 percent pay deficit.

10. A higher degree may actually increase your chances of unequal pay. Based on averages from 2018, a 26 percent pay gap exists for women who hold advanced degrees, compared to 23 percent for women who have a high school degree or less. This remains despite the fact that women earn the majority of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

11. Industry throws another wrench into the numbers. It seems reasonable to assume that within female-dominated occupations, such as education or healthcare, the pay gap would be narrower, but this is not the case.

Even in industries where women comprise a majority of the workforce, the pay gap can significantly exceed the national average. This is in part because in those industries men hold the highest positions, and because female-dominated industries are lower paying because they are female-dominated.


Percentage female

Pay gap




Business and financial operations









Finance and insurance



Read more:A Brief History of Unequal Pay in Women's Sports

12. Women are not asking for raises. According to InHerSight’s own research, 57 percent of women have not asked for a raise in the last 12 months. And of the 43 percent of women who did, less than half received that pay raise.

13. Women are underrepresented in senior-level position s, which contributes to the pay gap. and McKinsey’s 2019 Women in the Workplace report found that women only make up 39 percent of manager roles, 35 percent of senior manager or director roles, 31 percent of VP roles, and 22 percent of C-suite positions. However, some of these numbers are moving in the right direction, specifically within the C-suite, where representation is up from 17 percent in 2015.

14. Women say that not enough is being done to close the gap. According to InHerSight’s 2020 research, 87 percent of women say that American businesses are not doing enough to close the gender pay gap, up from 83 percent in 2019. Ninety percent say that neither the federal government nor state or local governments are doing enough to close the gap.

Read more: Understanding What the Pay Gap Really Means

15. But for many, the pay gap is a dealbreaker . Forty-nine percent of women say that if they knew a company had a gender pay gap, they would absolutely be less interested in working there.

16. Transparency helps. A lot. We know that women are paid less overall, but many women don’t know whether they are underpaid themselves, and if so, by how much. That’s why it’s so important that we talk more about pay. For women who agreed that pay was transparent at their company, the average pay gap was eliminated or even created a gap of $0.01 in the other direction. Unfortunately, only about 66 percent of Americans are even aware there is a wage gap separating men and women.

In fact, InHerSight has found that in the public sector, where pay grades are often made public, women report higher salary satisfaction than do women in the private sector, where very few companies disclose salaries and pay grades.

Read More: 36% of Women Say A Male Colleague Has Told Them How Much He Makes

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