35+ Wage Gap Statistics: Gender & Racial Gap

Minority workers and women have faced systematic inequality for decades. This disparity was recently worsened, reversing any progress due to the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19.  

The COVID-19 disruption highlighted the vulnerabilities and disproportionately affected women and people of color, leaving many unemployed. Because of societal norms, women were forced to leave the workforce and take on caretaking roles, making women’s labor participation hit a 33-year low. The wage gap statistics below highlight the inequality and show we are still far from closing the pay gap. 

What is a Wage Gap?

The gender or wage gap refers to the difference in earnings between workers with similar job characteristics based on their gender or race. The pay gap exists in every profession, for every age group, and at every educational level.   
There has been an enormous amount of evidence and data suggesting that women, especially women of color, consistently earn less than men for no other attainable reason besides gender or race. These differences may seem small but can amount to hundreds of thousands and more over a lifetime of earnings.  

Economic Inequality

  • The U.S is in fifth place out of all the OECD countries by gender inequality (OECD 
  • In the U.S., there is an 18.2% difference in full-time earnings between men and women (OECD 
  • In 2020, women earned 82 cents for every dollar a man makes (U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • The top jobs with the highest inequality pay are waitresses ($0.78), bartenders ($0.87), media workers ($0.87), police officers ($0.90), and surgeons ($0.90) (Payscale)   

COVID-19 widening the Wage Gap

  • Women’s participation in the workforce hit a 33-year-low due to the COVID-19 pandemic (TheHill 
  • More than 2.3 million women lost their job or were forced to leave due to caretaking roles; in comparison, only 1.8 million men were forced to leave the labor force (TheHill 
  • With over 5.3 million net job losses, women’s employment has taken a harder hit than their male counterparts (NWLC 
  • Unemployed men who returned to the workforce saw higher job offers than unemployed women returning to the workforce (Payscale 
  • During COVID-19, women experienced steeper pay cuts than men, widening the gap’s range between $0.80-0.88 (Payscale 

Equal Pay Day

  • Equal Pay Day is March 24, which indicated how many days women had to work to make the same amount of money as men in 2020 (Business Insider 
  • To earn what white, non-Hispanic men earned in 2020, Asian American and Pacific Islander women had to work until March 9 (U.S. Census Bureau 
  • For Black women, Equal Pay Day is on August 3 (U.S. Census Bureau 
  • Native American women have to work until September 8 this year to make the same amount of money as men did in 2020 (U.S. Census Bureau 
  • For Latinas, Equal Pay Day is more than nine months into the year on October 21 (U.S. Census Bureau

Qualifications & Professions

  • Out of nearly 350 occupations, women earn slightly more than men in only a few professions, such as health care workers (Women’s Bureau 
  • Most women with advanced degrees earn less than white men with only a bachelor’s degree (U.S Department of Labour Blog)   
  • A woman, doing the same level job as a man, with the same qualifications and experience is paid 2% less (Payscale 
  • 15 out of 20 of the highest-paying professions are dominated by men, whereas 14 out of 20 of the lowest-paying professions are dominated by women (AAUW 
  • The most significant pay gap is among the financial services sales’ agents, financial managers, and financial advisers, with a pay ratio ranging 61-67% between men and women (AAUW 
  • Even working women in unions are paid only 89 cents to unionized working men (Economic Policy Institute)   

Racial Wage Gap

  • Black and Hispanic women with a bachelor’s degree earn only 65% of what a white male counterpart with the same educational level does (U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • Black women with advanced degrees earn 70% of what white men with advanced degrees do (U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • When compared to non-Hispanic white men, Asian women have the smallest gap in earnings, making 87 cents on the dollar (Business Insider 
  • Hispanic women are paid just 52 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic male makes (National Partnership 
  • Black women are paid just 60 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men (National Partnership 
  • When compared to Black men, Black women earn 90 cents of what men do, and Hispanic women make 80 cents of what Hispanic men do (Business Insider 
  • Black women are paid just 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men (AAUW 

Future Projections

  • At the current rate, the gender wage gap will not close until 2093 (AAUW 
  • Altogether, working women lose out on more than $500 billion every year because of the pay gap (U.S. Census Bureau 
  • Lower lifetime earnings lead to lower social security and pension funds, meaning women only have 70% of the retirement income that men do (AAUW 
  • On average, a woman with the same career as a man over a period of 40 years makes $850,000 less than a man (Payscale 
  • Only 7% of women get a chance to get to an executive-level role at any point in their lives, while 12% of men get an opportunity to do so (Payscale 
  • White men’s salaries increase at a much faster rate than other groups as they progress in their career (Payscale 

Motherhood Worsening the Wage Gap

  • Mothers are paid 71 cents for every dollar to fathers, which amounts to $16,000 annually (National Women’s Law Center 
  • Mothers are paid worst in Utah, where they earn only 58 cents for every dollar fathers make (National Women’s Law Center 
  • Full-time working mothers with a high-school diploma make only 68 cents for every dollar a father with a high-school diploma earns (National Women’s Law Center 
  • On average, mothers would have to work until June 4 to make the same amount as dads did in 2020 (U.S. Census Bureau 
  • Women who took just one year off work earn 39% less than women who did not (AAUW 

The statistics above are just a reminder of the obstacles and barriers women and people of color go through in their careers. By gathering these wage gap statistics, we hope to paint a clearer picture of the racial and gender economic disparity.