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What is the Pay Gap?

Almost everyone agrees that women should be paid the same as men.  So why is there still a pay gap?  Typically, women working full time in nearly every occupation in the United States are paid just 80% of what men are paid. For women of color and for mothers, the pay gap is even wider.


Twenty years ago, in 1998, a woman earned 74 cents to a man’s dollar. Today she earns only 80 cents. At this slow rate of change it will take many decades to close the gap!

How can we close the gap?

The causes of the pay gap are complex and subject to debate.  But recent research by Professor Linda Babcock at Carnegie Mellon University has pointed to one cause that we can work on: women tend to not negotiate their salaries as much as men. Professor Babcock found that 57% of men and only 7% of women negotiated their salaries in their first jobs after graduate school at Carnegie Mellon. 

Negotiating helps!

When women do negotiate their salaries, they tend to be as successful as men in obtaining a salary increase. Because salaries are often based on previous salaries, when women negotiate they have more money to take care of their families and themselves, and are able to save more for retirement.

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