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Patricia A. Roos & Mary Lizabeth Gatta

In: Handbook of Gender & Work

Chapter 6: The Gender Gap in Earnings: Trends, Explanations, and Prospects

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The Gender Gap in Earnings: Trends, Explanations, and Prospects
The gender gap in earnings: Trends, explanations, and prospects
Patricia A.Roos and Mary LizabethGatta

It is a social truism that women earn less than men. This gender gap in earnings existed in 1955, when the United States first began to track systematically the female to male earnings ratio, and remains as we near the century's end.1 This “cost of being female” (Reskin & Padavic, 1994, p. 101) persists regardless of how you define earnings (e.g., annual vs. weekly, mean vs. median), in all race/ethnic groups, across educational categories, over the life cycle, within detailed occupational categories, and across cultures.2

Despite its ubiquity, the gender earnings ratio—as a measure of the gender gap—has varied over time. Published data show two ...

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