Over a 15-year period, women on average earn less than half what men do, according to a new study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
The gender gap in the United States is usually reported as about 80 cents on the dollar for women as compared with men for a given year, but the new study released Wednesday shows that over the long term the gap is much worse.
Women earned only 49 percent, on average, of what men made between 2001 and 2015.
“We have actually been underestimating the extent of pay inequality in the labor market,” said Heidi Hartmann, IWPR president and co-author of the study, in a news release.
A Stateline analysis in March showed that geographically, there are very few exceptions to the gender gap. The handful of places around the country where women, on average, make more than men have unusual circumstances such as, for example, lots of single male immigrants earning low pay, or federal government work that’s unusually equitable.
The long-term look by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research brought out more considerations, such as the penalty that women pay when they drop out of the workforce temporarily, as they might to raise small children. That penalty is getting worse, the study found.
Access to paid leave and affordable child care is critical for narrowing the pay gap, the study concludes.
More enforcement of Title IX equality laws in the workplace and schools can also narrow the gap by helping women enter high-paying fields dominated by men, according to the study.