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Pay inequality between men and women is way worse than anyone thought, new study says

Women earn 80 cents for every dollar men earn, right? It's actually more like 49 cents.

by Rex Santus
Nov 29 2018, 7:11pm

The pay inequality between men and women is much worse than women earning 80 cents for every dollar men earn, according to a new study.

The pay gap is actually more like 49 cents for every dollar, according to a study published Thursday by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which analyzed total earnings across 15-year increments, such as from 2001 to 2015, instead of just one year, like the census data where the previous figure originated. The gap is much wider because the most recent study’s data set includes anyone who worked even just one year out of the 15 included. And because women are much more likely to have gaps in their time in the labor force, they’re more likely to make less money once they return to the labor force, the study said.

About 43 percent of women workers experienced at least one year with no earnings — almost double the rate of male workers. The researchers said that paid family and medical leave as well as affordable childcare could be policy initiatives that could further encourage women to participate in the labor force with more frequency. The study analyzed 15-year increments over a near 50-year period.

“The good news is that over the course of the nearly 50 years covered in the study, women have seen considerable progress in the labor force, by entering the workforce at higher rates and staying in the labor force for longer periods of time, which have led to higher earnings and a narrower wage gap,” said Stephen J. Rose, the report’s co-author and a nonresident fellow in the Income and Benefits Policy Center at the Urban Institute and a Research Professor at the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, in a statement.

The data also does not include metrics on race, a IWPR spokeswoman told VICE News, though she said that the authors of the study are working to expand the study with breakdowns of race and ethnicity. Statistics show that black and Latina women face the largest pay gaps with white men, and white women outearn most minority groups, including men of color.

Cover image: (Press Association via AP Images)