Gender Pay Gap Stuck?

July 30, 2009 ( - The pay gap between male and female full-time workers in 2008 was 20%, about the same as in 2007, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2008, women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median weekly earnings of $638, or about 80% of the $798 median for their male counterparts, the report said. Since 1979, the wage gap has narrowed gradually from about 38% to 19% in 2005, but remained at 19% in 2006, and now is at 20%.

However, the younger generations may get the gap unstuck, as the data indicates that the gap is higher among older men and women and lower among younger workers. Women aged 35 and older earned about 75% as much as their male counterparts, but women earned about 89% as much as men among workers 25 to 34 years old, and 91% as much among 16- to 24-year-olds.

Earnings differences between women and men were widest for Asians and for whites, according to the report. Asian women and white women earned just under 80% as much as their male counterparts in 2008. Black women and Hispanic women had earnings that were around 90% of that of their male counterparts.

The report suggests the wage gap has narrowed since 1979, in part, because women have made greater gains than men in educational levels and movement into higher paying occupations. Since 1979, earnings for women with college degrees have increased by 31% after adjustment for inflation, compared with an earnings growth of 18% among men with college degrees.

The BLS report is here .