The Gender Pay Gap Is Getting Worse – A Lot Worse

It’s 2015 and men and women are finally supposed to be equal, right? Well, it seems that in some areas, things are getting a lot worse. Men’s incomes are increasing a lot faster than women’s.

The median weekly earnings for full-time male workers was $889 in the third quarter, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s a 2.2% increase from a year earlier. Meanwhile, full-time female workers’ earnings were $721, up 0.8% from a year earlier.

The latest data marks the third straight quarter that the increase in male earnings was at least double that of female workers. As a result, women who work full time earned 81.1 cents for every dollar a man earned from July through September. That’s down more than a penny from a year earlier.

This seems to be a reversal of the trend that saw the gender wage gap decrease to “just” 83.5 cents on every dollar earned by a man. The movement for women’s equality, though, isn’t being credited for the previously narrowing gap. That’s being blamed on the fact that men had a more difficult time recovering from the recession than women and now, things are beginning to get back to normal, which is bad for women.

One factor driving the wider gap this year is increasing pay for men in higher-wage, professional fields. Median weekly pay for men working full time in professional jobs, a category that includes engineers, lawyers and teachers, was $1,345 in the third quarter, up 7.4% from a year earlier. Similar women earned $970 a week, a 2.2% increase from a year earlier.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would guarantee equal pay for equal work, has been sitting in the Senate for over two years, and naturally, Republicans are blocking it.

Republicans claim that the reason there is a pay gap at all is that women choose careers that pay less and they take time off from their careers to raise a family. First off, no one should be punished for raising a family. Our “family values” culture offers no family leave, stay-at-home parents are unpaid and when they go back to work, they find themselves left behind. As for the fact that traditionally female careers pay less, well, that’s a societal problem, not the problem of the people holding important and highly-educated jobs like nursing and teaching. Of course, we can also talk about how less educated jobs also pay less for women. And if it were really just a matter of women taking time off or taking different jobs, there wouldn’t be a larger gap for women of color.

Join President Obama and Congressional Democrats in the fight for women’s equality. Let’s start by closing the pay gap.

Featured image via Pixabay.

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