The US gender wage gap, the narrowest in history, is still awful

Must. keep. working. harder. than. men.
Must. keep. working. harder. than. men.
Image: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
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The pay gap between men and women in the US is more stubborn than it might seem. According to a new income and poverty report from the US Census Bureau, the gender wage gap reached an all-time low in 2014 of 21%. That’s the smallest gap between American men’s and women’s pay since 1960, when the Census Bureau began collecting data on full-time, year-round workers.

Women who held full-time, year-round jobs earned 78.6% of what men made last year, up from 77.6% in 2013.

Put in context, there hasn’t been a meaningful narrowing of the country’s gender pay gap since 2007, when it was 77.8%.

Credit: US Census Bureau
Credit: US Census Bureau

The report notes that neither men nor women have seen a meaningful increase in median earnings since 2009, which goes some way in explaining the lack of progress in closing the pay gap. Recent researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that, at least for young college graduates (aged 22 to 27), the US gender pay gap has narrowed to near parity.

Still, corporate policies that keep salaries secret or punish employees for sharing their pay haven’t helped women gain ground overall. As we’ve noted, more tech companies are disclosing their gender pay gaps as a first step to fixing them.