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The gender wage gap hasn’t budged in 9 years

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Bryce CovertThe average woman who had a full-time, year-round job in 2015 made just 80 percent of what a man did, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau. That’s up from last year’s 79 percent, but the increase is not statistically significant. The wage gap hasn’t closed significantly since 2007.

In 2015, men made $51,212 at the median, compared to $40,742 for women, a $10,470 difference. Both experienced an increase in income—1.5 percent for men and 2.7 percent for women—the first significant raise since 2009.

Census Bureau
Census Bureau

There are a number of factors that go into the gender wage gap. About 20 percent of it is due to the fact that women often end up in jobs and industries that pay less. Occupations with large numbers of women pay about 83 percent as those with large numbers of men. It’s not just that women choose to be in lower paid work; when a large number of women start to enter a job that was previously held by men, the pay drops.

Another portion of the gap can be explained by the fact that women tend to interrupt their careers or cut back on their hours. They are much more likely than men to do this to care for family members, work that still falls mostly to them. Some may have little choice given how few supports, like paid family leave and affordable child care, the country offers them.

But there is a sizable percentage of the gap between women’s and men’s earnings that can’t be explained by various factors—in one comprehensive study, about half of it. Women make less than men in every industry and in virtually every occupation. Even women with the exact same jobs as men earn less than them.

Education can’t close the gap, as female college graduates make less in their first jobs than male ones even when they have the same grades, majors, and other credentials, and women make less than men at every educational level.

There is evidence, however, that women and their work are justundervalued.

This article was originally posted at Thinkprogress.org on September 13, 2016. Reprinted with permission.

Bryce Covert  is the Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The New York Daily News, New York Magazine, Slate, The New Republic, and others. She has appeared on ABC, CBS, MSNBC, and other outlets.

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Our Government Should be Complying Not Just with the Letter but with the Spirit of the Buy American Act

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The Census has been purchasing promotional materials for Census 2010 that were manufactured overseas, and Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) is not happy about it.  In a statement issued today, Lipinski said:

“The Census has some explaining to do, and so far it’s not providing much clarity. Our government should be complying not just with the letter but with the spirit of the Buy American Act.  That’s especially true right now, in the middle of the worst economy in decades with 15 million Americans out of work.  Blaming subcontractors or claiming the purchases are too small to matter isn’t going to cut it.  American taxpayers are spending over $14 billion to pay for the census, including hundreds of millions on this communications campaign.  If nothing else, the Census could write Buy American rules into its contracts with private vendors.  While the Census claims it was trying to save money, it doesn’t save us any money to destroy American jobs by purchasing from foreign companies.

Lipinski also sent a letter to the Census outlining his great concern over this matter.

AAM Executive Director Scott Paul issued a statement on recent reports of the Census’ decision to purchase materials manufactured abroad:

“Unemployment is nearly 10 percent.  Millions of Americans are suffering.  The Census Bureau should ensure that all of its materials are made in America, especially since census workers will be knocking on the doors of scores of families that have been devastated by layoffs.  The Census Bureau has said claimed that these purchases were made by contractors and were under the threshold for compliance with Buy America requirements.  But in this day and age, every job is precious.

“The Census Bureau should be using made in America promotional materials.  We’ve never had a problem finding an American-made t-shirt or hat.  If the Census Bureau and its contractors actually looked, they would find American-made promotional materials as well.  We commend Congressman Lipinski for his efforts to right this wrong, and we hope other leaders in Washington will join him.”

Editor’s Note: The Census is a critical and necessary process that was written into the Constitution. ManufactureThis fully supports participation in the Census and commends the efforts of all those Census employees involved in the process.

*This article originally appeared in Manufacture This on April 16, 2010. Reprinted with permission.

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