Learn more about the gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is a complex issue created by racism, classism, and sexism that affects our paychecks, families, and careers. It shows up across all jobs, geography, and education levels. On this page, you’ll find more resources on understanding the wage gap and its effects on women.  

Jump to:
Looking Deeper
The Wage Gap and Racism
Understanding Occupational Segregation
Caregiving and Pregnancy
Policy Connections
The Impact of COVID-19
Your Rights

Looking deeper

Understanding the gender pay gap is more complex than knowing the average amount that women make less than men. Check out this video to dig deeper.

Read more:
FAQ About the Wage Gap (NWLC) 
The Wage Gap: The Who, How, Why, and What to Do (NWLC)

the wage gap and racism

We know that the pay gap is widened by racism and Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and other women of color experience both racism and sexism in the workplace that affects their paychecks and futures.

Read more:
It’s Time to Pay Black Women What They’re Owed
57 Cents on the Dollar Isn’t Enough for Latinas
Native American Women Need Action That Closes the Wage Gap
Asian American and Pacific Islander Women Lose $10,000 Annually to the Wage Gap
AAPI women have the smallest pay gap—but that stat ‘masks’ big economic disparities, say experts

Understanding occupational seregation

Women are less likely to be employed in stereotypically male-dominated careers and be able to grow in these positions. Women, particularly women of color, are also more likely to be represented in careers that fall into the sexist category of “women’s work,” like caregiving, which is historically underpaid. 

Read more:
Fast Facts About Occupational Segregation

The impact of caregiving and pregnancy

A growing amount of research shows that women who have children experience large pay gaps when compared to fathers and women who do not have children, regardless of if they remain in the workforce. Men simply do not experience the same drop in pay that women experience when they have children. 

Read more:
A stunning chart shows the true cause of the gender wage gap
The Motherhood Penalty

Policy Connections

Connecting the dots between economic justice and the gender pay gap means fighting for policies at the local, state, and federal level that help working women and families achieve equity. From policies as broad as voting rights to as specific as local paid leave laws help women close the pay gap.

Read more:
Progress in the States for Equal Pay
AAUW Economic Security Policies

the impact of covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected women and their families, as women left the workforce or took time off without pay to care for kids or loved ones. Without access to federal paid leave, women bore the brunt of caregiving responsibilities as children were sent home from school. Women who remained in the workforce, especially those in caregiving positions, suffer from increasing workloads and underpayment. The long term effects of this 

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to dwindle, we have the opportunity to create policies to invest in women to help close the pay gap and ease the inequities exposed by the pandemic. 

Read more:

Raising Revenues to Rebuild and Economy That Works For Everyone

Your Rights

All workers in the U.S. are protected by certain rights in the workplace based on federal employment discrimination laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, transgender status, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.  You can read more about the rights all employees have here.

Most importantly, it is illegal to retaliate against employees for talking about pay. Talking about pay with your coworkers is a huge first step in creating equitable work environments. Check out our zine for more information on your rights and tips to talk about the gender pay gap. 

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