AAUW Research Reveals New Dimensions to the Gender Pay Gap in Advance of Equal Pay Day

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April 8 is the symbolic date when women’s wages catch up to what men were paid in 2013.


The latest analysis by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) shows that women ages 35–54 face a wider pay gap than younger women do. The authors of the 2014 edition of The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap found that women typically are paid about 90 percent of what men are paid until they hit age 35. After that, median earnings for women fall to 75 to 80 percent of what men are paid.

Released in advance of Equal Pay Day, The Simple Truth goes beyond the widely reported
77 percent statistic and offers key facts about gender pay disparity. AAUW researchers explain the origins of the pay gap and provide charts that break down the gap by several categories, including race, education, and geography. The report also explores what individuals, employers, and governments can do to address this pervasive problem and offers resources for fair pay advocates.

“Employers should lead on this issue. The pay gap hurts families and costs a typical woman at least $400,000 over the course of her career,” said AAUW Executive Director and CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “While some CEOs have been vocal in their commitment to paying workers fairly, American women can’t wait for incremental change. AAUW urges companies to conduct salary audits proactively to monitor and address gender pay differences. It’s just good business.”

In the face of congressional gridlock, AAUW also urges President Barack Obama to issue an executive order banning federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their salaries or ask about pay practices, a move that could protect 22 percent of the nation’s workforce. On the individual level, AAUW works with the Wage Project to offer $tart $mart workshops at college campuses nationwide to provide women with the tools they need to negotiate for fair pay, which can help close part of the pay gap.

According to The Simple Truth, the best place in the United States for pay equity is Washington, D.C., where women were paid 90 percent of what men were paid in 2012. At the other end of the spectrum is Wyoming, the worst state in the country for pay equity, where women were paid just 64 percent of what men were paid. Along racial lines, Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest pay gap, at 87 percent of white men’s earnings. Hispanic women’s salaries show the largest gap, at 53 percent of white men’s earnings. White men are used as a benchmark because they are the largest demographic group in the labor force.

“Bottom line, the gender pay gap affects all women, but for black and Hispanic women the pay shortfall is worse,” said AAUW Vice President of Research Catherine Hill. “While education helps everyone, black and Hispanic women are paid less than their white and Asian peers, even when they have the same educational credentials. We hope these numbers will spur Congress, the president, and employers to action.”

The Simple Truth is updated annually for Equal Pay Day, the symbolic date that women must work to in 2014 to make what men were paid in 2013. This year’s national observance falls on April 8.

In addition to releasing The Simple Truth, AAUW plans to mark Equal Pay Day 2014 by holding an “unhappy” hour outside its headquarters, located just two blocks from the White House. Across the nation, AAUW members and leaders will ask for Equal Pay Day proclamations, share The Simple Truth with policy makers, and hold rallies, forums, and other events to educate their communities.


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university partners. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. Learn more and join us at http://www.aauw.org.

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Katie Broendel
American Association of University Women
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