The Wilder View

Male and Female pay: the wedge

I get a lot of keyword searches for male and female pay. Well, the BLS reports median weekly earnings by gender on a quarterly basis :

Women who usually worked full time had median earnings of $649 per week, or 78.9 percent of the $823 median for men. The fe- male-to-male earnings ratios were higher among blacks (93.9 per-cent) and Hispanics (88.4 percent) than among whites (77.9 per-cent) or Asians (81.3 percent).


The chart illustrates the annual average of quarterly real median weekly earnings for men and women 16 years and older roughly every 5 years since 1980. The real number extracts the effects of inflation on earnings. The eye-popping result is the wedge between male and female earnings, roughly 25% on average over the sample. Also, real median female earnings are growing on average, while male earnings are falling.

Here is what the BLS says about the earnings gap:

This article sheds some light on reasons for the gender earnings gap, focusing on the role that the share of women in an occupation plays. We utilize the methodology employed by George Johnson and Gary Solon to identify the sources of the relationship between wages and the share of women in an occupation.3 Johnson and Solon used Current Population Survey (CPS) data to estimate the relationship between wages and the concentration of females within occupations. They found that the relationship was negative, even after controlling for worker and job characteristics. Industry was found to have the largest effect on the relationship, primarily because predominately male industries, such as construction and manufacturing, pay higher wages.

I haven’t read the paper, but this is how I read the conclusion: women hold a smaller share of jobs in the industries that pay more. Likewise, there is a big discrepancy between male and female executive pay, as documented by Fortune (with my take on it here).

I will leave it to you all to comment on the dichotomy of earnings across men and women. The earnings data are from the BLS’ massive current population survey and exclude self-employment income.

Originally published at the News N Economics blog and reproduced here with the author’s permission.

2 Responses to “Male and Female pay: the wedge”

Catherine GeeverMay 10th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Dear Rebecca,I graduated from college with double bachelor of science degrees in Physics and Civil Engineering with honors. I was immediately blackballed across the country from ANY employment whatsoever. The few interviews I had were rude and insulting. My college degrees have ALWAYS been used against me to deny me employment for jobs I’m perfectly capable of doing. “You are too overqualified and over-educated. We can’t hire you, because we are afraid you might do too much of a good job. How fast do you type?” I can’t believe hearing this kind of talk from registered, Professional Engineers. Yet, men with college degrees are NEVER rejected for being overqualified. Companies will permit their male employees to hold all kinds of college degrees up to the PhD level, while NEVER allowing one single woman to be educated beyond high school. I have to hide and deny ALL my college training. Now, I only show a high school education on my resume, because of automatic HR dismissal policies that are aimed at female employees, while the men are PAID to go to school and advance themselves. Engineering companies and government public works departments have a “male only” hiring policy. Complaints to the Federal EEOC are routinely dismissed. EEOC case officers have told me, “this wouldn’t happen to you, if you would just work as a secretary or a teacher, as women should do”. EEOC is part of the problem, because they rubber-stamp and uphold corporate hiring practices like this across the country. This is why American universities and companies are rigidly segregated by gender, so they can import engineers from foreign countries and drive women engineers out of American society entirely. There is NO place for women in American business culture, except as prostitutes. That’s all that men see in women here. The Federal EEOC fully supports and enforces this apartheid, gender biased, prostitute culture across the country. Since college-educated women are NOT welcome in America, the next logical step is to use the death penalty against us, because we are a public nuisance. Quite a few male engineers support this policy. Please feel free to print this letter and quote my name. Thanks for listening.Catherine Geever,BS Physics (With Distinction-U. of Arizona),BS Civil Engineering (U. of Arizona),EIT Engineering License.

pkfMay 21st, 2009 at 10:22 am

Catherine,I, too, graduated with a degree in Engineering (Industrial Engineering…referred to as a Gloried Business Degree) years ago when The Women’s Movement was strong. But by the mid ’80’s, I noticed a change…women were no longer welcome.Now the Backlash is in full control and The Media has convinced many that the 1950’s are were The Glory Days.I’m sorry to hear that the EEOC is not helping…I thought that might change under a Dem Administration. I supported HRC because I knew she wouldn’t treat women and girls like prostitutes.Have you tried Gov’t work…they seem to be spending money on bridges, sewer and other infrastructure.Don’t let them get you down.PKF

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