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Women Can’t Win: Despite Making Educational Gains and Pursuing High-Wage Majors, Women Still Earn Less than Men

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Women Can’t Win: Despite Making Educational Gains and Pursuing High-Wage Majors, Women Still Earn Less than Men explores the complex set of reasons that have kept the gender wage gap in place. Even when comparing men and women who have equal educational attainment and work in the same occupation, women still earn only 92 cents for every dollar earned by men.

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Women Can’t Win: Despite Making Educational Gains and Pursuing High-Wage Majors, Women Still Earn Less than Men

  1. 1. Women Can’t Win: Despite Making Educational Gains and Pursuing High-Wage Majors, Women Still Earn Less than Men By: Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Artem Gulish February 27, 2018
  2. 2. Overview •  Women are going to college and graduating in greater numbers than men, yet the gender wage gap persists. •  Educational progress has helped narrow that gap. •  Even within the more lucrative majors and occupations, women are concentrated in the lower- paying subfields. •  When compared to many of its OECD peers, the US has lower female labor force participation rates and a wider wage gap.
  3. 3. The gender wage gap persists •  Women earn 81 cents on the dollar paid to men. •  Even when controlling for education, college major, and occupation, women still earn only 92 cents for every dollar paid to men.
  4. 4. The gender wage gap varies by education
  5. 5. •  Women’s educational accomplishments have helped narrow the gender wage gap. •  Roughly 3 million more women in the US are enrolled in postsecondary education than men. •  Women make up the majority of recipients of associate’s degrees (61%), bachelor’s degrees (57%), master’s degrees (60%), and doctoral degrees (52%). Education gains yield economic progress
  6. 6. Choice of low-paying majors •  Women continue to enter more lucrative fields. •  Today, 17 percent of engineering majors are women, compared to 1 percent in 1970. •  Yet, even in high-paying majors, women disproportionally choose the lowest paying sub-major.
  7. 7. Choice of low-paying majors (continued)
  8. 8. Concentration in low-paying occupations •  In high-paying occupational fields, women are more concentrated in lower-paying occupations. Share  of  women  
  9. 9. US lags OECD countries in closing the wage gap •  Women’s labor force participation rates are low in the US compared to its OECD peers. •  Most OECD countries have smaller gender wage gaps and laws that are more supportive of women who have children or are taking care of elderly relatives.
  10. 10. 6 Rules of the Game: Rule 1 •  Women need one more degree than men to have the same earnings.
  11. 11. Rule 2 •  Major choice largely determine earnings.
  12. 12. Rule 3 •  Liberal arts majors need a graduate degree to attain middle class earnings.
  13. 13. Rule 4 •  Starting pay impacts lifetime earnings potential.
  14. 14. Rule 5 •  Postsecondary vocational certificates have limited labor market value for women.
  15. 15. Rule 6 •  Industry based certification have labor market value for women.
  16. 16. Conclusion •  The enduring gender wage gap puts women at the mercy of a different set of rules than men. •  Women’s educational attainment gains have narrowed the gender wage gap, but have not eliminated it. •  The remaining difference in pay between men and women after accounting for education and career choices is a clear sign of persistent discrimination. •  Solving the gender wage gap will require more than just new laws; it will also require cultural changes.
  17. 17. For more information: Email Us | cewgeorgetown@georgetown.edu Follow Us on Twitter | @GeorgetownCEW Find Us on Facebook | Facebook.com/GeorgetownCEW Follow Us on LinkedIn | linkedin.com/company/georgetowncew See the full report at: cew.georgetown.edu/genderwagegap  

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