AAUW Produces Latest Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap

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Releases annual breakdown of problem by state, race/ethnicity, and age


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) released its annual wage gap analysis, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, complete with charts on the gender pay gap broken down by state, race/ethnicity, education, and age. It shows that one of the widest disparities exists among workers ages 45–54, the time when most workers build up the bulk of their retirement nest egg.

The Simple Truth, available in print on Wednesday, March 20, shows that for workers ages 20–24, the pay gap already is 7 percent. It widens as women enter prime working years, to a staggering 24 percent gap for full-time workers ages 45–54.

“The research clearly shows that the pay gap is not a figment of our imaginations,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “Women are actually losing tens of thousands of dollars in wages. Think about what they could do with that money to improve the lives of their families. This handbook gives everyone concerned about equal pay the tools they need to advocate for fair pay.”

The Simple Truth, based on data released by the U.S. Census Bureau at the beginning of the year, is published every year for Equal Pay Day, the symbolic date in April when women’s wages finally catch up to men’s from the year before. It takes nearly 16 months to get there rather than 12. This year, Equal Pay Day falls on April 9.

“The gender pay gap hasn’t budged in the past 10 years,” said AAUW Director of Research Catherine Hill. “Everyone’s familiar with the 77-cent statistic because it’s been around so long. What’s especially problematic is that even when you compare women and men in the same jobs, we still find gaps. That’s unacceptable.”

At the state level, The Simple Truth shows that the largest wage gap exists in Wyoming, where women were paid only 67 percent of what men were paid in 2011. Washington, D.C., has the smallest wage gap, where women were paid 90 percent of what men were paid.

Earnings and the pay gap also vary by race/ethnicity. Hispanic/Latina and African American women had lower median weekly earnings compared with white and Asian American women. Hispanic/Latina women were paid only 59 percent of what white men were paid in 2012. When compared with white male workers, Asian American women’s salaries show the smallest gender pay gap, at 88 percent of white men’s earnings.

The Simple Truth outlines actions governments, employers, and individuals can take to help solve this systemic problem, such as passing fair pay legislation, providing transparency in pay systems, and negotiating salaries.

“After the 2012 election, every lawmaker knows the power of women at the ballot box and the issues we care about,” said AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz. “Equal pay always tops that list, and it’s past time for real action from Congress. This is also a great opportunity for the president to take regulatory steps to close the gap while Congress gets its act together.”


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 150,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and 700 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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