ERIC Number: ED331992
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Oct
Earnings Differences between Women and Men. Facts on Working Women No. 90-3.
Women's Bureau (DOL), Washington, DC.
The earnings gap is the difference between the percentage ratio of women's earnings to those of men and 100 percent. In 1988, the earnings gap for hourly earnings was 26 percent; for weekly earnings, 30 percent; and for annual earnings, 34 percent. Although the direction over the past decade is toward greater equality, the pace is extremely slow. The earnings ratio data are not uniform among all occupations. In nontraditional occupations, women receive approximately equal compensation. In more traditional jobs, employers can still act to keep wages low. Traditionally, women have "crowded" into a few occupations. Arguably, women choose an occupation that tends to have less skill obsolescence for workers who leave and reenter the labor force and requires less educational commitment. They may have been fearful of employment opportunities in other occupations because of lack of knowledge about the field or fear of sexual harassment. Factors besides occupational choice that may affect the earnings gap include seniority within the firm and in the job and higher turnover rates for women. The effect of sex discrimination on the earnings gap is hard to measure. The earnings gap is narrowing and should continue to do so as women work more hours in the week, spend more years at work in their lifetimes, continue to increase their educational investment, and widen their occupational choices. (4 tables; 17 references) (YLB)
Publication Type: Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Women's Bureau (DOL), Washington, DC.