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Do women still earn less than men?

by Salatha Helton, staff writer

Women continue to earn less money than men each year, $13,087 less, according to a 2000 Census Bureau report. According to Kristen Gerencher of CBS MarketWatch, more women are graduating from college and attending top schools in law and medicine, but women in general are still represented as having more jobs in retail sales and teaching, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.


“We feel that discrimination is still a problem,” said Alyson Reed, executive director of the National Committee on Pay Equity. “Even when men and women have the same [credentials] for the job,” she added.

Historically, men were expected to work more, and pay the bills, so they earned more. Women were expected to stay at home—cook, clean, and raise the children. If they worked, it was only part time, a way to add a little extra to the family income.

World War II changed that. Since the war, more women have to work due to the increase in single-family homes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of single mothers has risen almost 10 percent since 1975.

According to Divorce Magazine, in 1997, 43 percent of all new marriages ended in divorce. Statistics for 2002 stats show that 10 percent (up from 8 percent in 1990) of the population is divorced.

Single women are forced to transition from domestic life to the workforce, where they earn less because jobs start at entry-level pay based on lack of training. After more experience, they earn higher pay; however, the annual pay still lags behind their male counterparts.

According to the Census Bureau, a white male with a college diploma earns in excess of $66,000 a year, more than any similarly educated man of any other race, or woman. Among men with bachelor’s degrees, Asians earned more than $52,000 a year, Hispanics earned $49,000, and blacks earned more than $45,000.

A white woman with a bachelor’s degree typically earned nearly $37,800 in 2003, compared with nearly $43,700 for a college-educated Asian woman and $41,100 for a college-educated black woman. Hispanic women earned least, $37,600 a year, according to the Census Bureau.
White men earn $28,200 more than white women; Hispanics men earn $11,400 more than Hispanic women, Asians men earn $8,300 more than Asian women, and Black men earn $3,900 more than Black women.

According to the Dept. of Labor, women earn 76 cents for every dollar a man earns.
The unequal pay can affect a women’s social security and pension plans in the long run because women will have to work longer hours and more years, while men who have a shorter life span, won’t have to work as long.

The same is true of men and women with graduate degrees. The National Committee on Pay Equity is a national coalition of organizations that work to eliminate discrimination and achieve pay equality between men and women in the work environment. According to the committee, “on average, a woman who has a master’s degree makes $6,456 less than a male with a college degree.”

Many are working towards breaking the gender barrier, so that women and men can earn equal pay.

It’s difficult to determine how long it will be before women and men have equal salaries, but it is fair to say that women deserve fair pay, and more women are needed in the workforce.


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