The gap in pay rates between genders is narrowing according to the latest research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in part because women have fared better during the economic down turn.
Nationally, women earned about 80 percent of the median weekly wage of men in 2009, creating a gap of 20 percent. In California, the gap was about 11 percent, with women earning an approximate 89 percent of the median weekly earnings of men.
When looking at the annual earnings between women and men, the gap grows significantly. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research used data from the census bureau and found that the annual earnings for women employed full-time were $36,278, compared to $47,127 for men employed full-time, creating an earnings ratio of 77 percent for 2009. In 2008, the gap was 77.1 percent and in 2007, it was 77.8 percent.
When looking at the weekly earnings, the pay gap showed an improvement partially because more men than women have lost their full-time employment, according to the figures from the census bureau. The industrial and construction industries, where men routinely outpace women in hiring, have been hit harder than most other agencies.
There were fewer women (2.4 million) and men (6.9 million) working full time in 2009, compared to 2007 when the recession started.
“Families are more dependent than ever on the earnings of women, especially in communities of color. Closing the gender wage gap would go far towards helping to restore the American middle class,” stated Robert Drago, research director for the Institute for Women Policy Research.
The census bureau also reported that the United States added 360,000 female-headed households in 2009, compared to 2008.
“More effort to stimulate the economy and create jobs that pay decent wages regardless of gender or race is desperately needed. Women, especially those who support families on their own, would benefit from equal access to good jobs and equal pay,” stated Heidi Hartmann, president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
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