One of Twenty Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know

Gender Pay Gaps

Throughout much of the 20th century, the average woman earned about 60% of what the average man earned. Starting in the late 1970s, there was a substantial increase in women’s relative earnings, with women coming to earn about 80% of what men earned. This historic rise plateaued in 2005 and, since then, the pay gap has remained roughly unchanged.

Women's earnings as a percent of men's (full-time wage and salary workers, annual averages)

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Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2010. Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 2009. Report 1017. See