Equal Pay Day: When, where and why women earn less than men

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Women's earnings as a percentage of white men's earnings.
Women’s earnings as a percentage of white men’s earnings.

April 12 is a day most women would rather not celebrate.

It’s Equal Pay Day, and it’s the day that, if you’re a woman, your earnings have finally caught up with what men were paid the previous year.

The good news is that the gender pay gap is getting smaller. In 1964, women on average were paid 59% of what men were paid. In 2014, that number had jumped to 79%.

But that’s the bad news, too: Women are typically paid 79% of what men are paid.

If current trends continue, women won’t earn equal pay until 2059, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

And depending on where you live, your age, race and education level, you could be waiting much longer than that.

Women's earnings as a percentage of men's earnings from 1960-2014.
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings from 1960-2014.

Here’s a look at how those factors play into the gender pay gap:


Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings vary a lot depending on race.

Asian American women, for example, earn 90% of what white men do, the American Association of University Women reports.

African American women are paid 63% of what white men are, while Hispanic or Latina women earn just 54% of what white men do, AAUW says.


Age also has a meaningful impact on the gender pay gap.

AAUW reports that women earn 90% or more of what men do up until around 35.

After that, the gap grows.

Women from the ages of 35 to 44 earn on average 81% of what men do, while women from 55 to 64 are paid just 76% of what men are paid, AAUW says.

The gap narrows slightly once workers hit 65 and up.

Women's earnings as a percentage of men's earnings.
Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s earnings.


The gender pay gap is bigger or smaller depending on which state you call home.

Women in New York, for example, typically earn 87% of what men do, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Women in Louisiana are paid 65% of what men are.


Although women’s advances in education may have contributed to the pay gap getting smaller over the years, education is not an antidote.

In fact, the opposite appears true.

Women with less than a high school diploma on average make 80% of what men make, AAUW reports. That gap grows to 74% for women with an advanced degree.

By Dana Ford, CNN

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