While the earnings gap between men and women isn’t quite the chasm it once was, there’s still a significant pay disparity between the sexes, according to a recent report by the Bureau of the Census.
According to the report, Highlights of Women’s Earnings in 1998, women earned about 76% as much as men did that year. The median weekly earnings of female full-time wage and salary workers were $456 in 1998 vs. $598 for males. In 1979, similar earnings data showed the female-to-male earnings ratio was approximately 63%.
In age comparisons, women lag behind men in earnings. For women 25 to 34 years old, the median hourly earnings ($8.81) were almost $1.50 less than men’s ($10.23). Even more disconcerting, as women aged, their earnings as a percent of men’s declined to 77.4% for 35 to 44 year olds vs. 86.1% for 25 to 34 year olds.
Not surprisingly, white workers earned more than their black or Hispanic counterparts. White women’s earnings ($468) were 17% higher than black women’s earnings ($400). Also, white men’s earnings ($615) were 31% higher than the earnings of their black counterparts.
Examining the data regarding African Americans reveals that black women earned 85.4% of what black men earned in 1998. And since 1979, inflation-adjusted earnings for white women have increased 15.6%, whereas black women’s have increased about half as much, 7.5%.
So modest gains have been made. But women still have a little ways to go before earning a fair share.