Pages Navigation Menu

Winning Justice for Working Women

Categories Navigation Menu

More information about equal pay

What are some of the causes of the pay gap? Women and people of color don’t choose to earn less. There are several factors that contribute to wage disparities, including:

 Occupational Segregation: Women and people of color are overrepresented in undervalued and underpaid occupations. Women make up 97 percent of office workers, 95 percent of child care workers, 88 percent of home health care workers and 71 percent of restaurant servers.

Lack of Family Flexibility: The wage gap between men and women harms children and families. Eighty-five percent of single parents are mothers. Too many working women are penalized financially for caregiving because they lack access to policies like paid sick days and family leave. If part-time and part-year workers were included, the ratios of women’s to men’s earnings would be even lower, as women are more likely than men to work reduced schedules, often in order to manage childrearing and other caregiving work.

Stereotypes: Bias against women – both implicit and explicit – still exists in science and engineering and other fields. While women represent a majority of college graduates overall, only 27.5 percent of Associate degrees and occupational certificates in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics fields were awarded to women in 2007.

Discrimination: Even when working in the same occupation as a man, women earn less! The same is true for workers of color compared to white workers. Women lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, up to over a million, over their careers. That means less money to make ends meet and achieve economic security for families today. It also means less retirement savings for tomorrow –earning less, there is less to save, and social security and pensions are based on earnings.