Is The Wage Gap Really Attributed To Gender?

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Is there really still a wage gap between men and women in the workplace, or is it just that women tend to gravitate toward jobs that are less financially rewarding than men? The White House often cites the statistic that full-time working women earn 77 cents for each dollar men make. Skeptics, including some Republican lawmakers, say this disparity exists because, crudely put, many more women become social workers and many more men become engineers.

But new data from Harvard University labor economist Claudia Goldin may offer further ammunition to the side of pay equality advocates. Goldin, who currently focuses her studies on women and the economy, found that a significant pay gap exists within occupations, and not just between them.

"There is a belief, which is just not true, that women are just in bad occupations and if we just put them in better occupations, we would solve the gender gap problem," Dr. Goldin told the New York Times.

According to her research, just 15 percent of the pay gap is erased for all workers if women were rearranged into higher-paying jobs. For those with college degrees, the pay gap drops by 30 percent. Goldin also found that the pay gap widens in higher-paying fields like business, law and medicine. Female financial specialists, for example, make just 66 percent of their male counterparts' pay on average.

Check out the interactive graph below to see how other professions rank with respect to the pay gap.

Women's Salaries as a Percentage of Men's​


Source: Claudia Goldin, Harvard University

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