town hall on gender and pay equity in Minneapolis

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  • Not only is March Women’s History Month, but March 24 is Equal Pay Day for women.
  • Even though a lot of progress has been made, the gender wage gap persists. 
  • That gap in pay varies widely based on location, race, and several other factors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

March is not only Women’s History Month, where all the hard work and achievements of women are recognized, but March 24 marks this year’s Women’s Equal Pay Day.

The date refers to how many days into 2021 women had to work to make as much as men did in just 2020. Equal Pay Days further vary by race and ethnicity, in line with the pay discrepancies between non-Hispanic white men and women of different races and ethnicities.   

And while women have gained important political power and some gains in the corporate pipeline, there is still work to be done to reach equality, especially when it comes to financial power. 

Over half a century after the US passed the Equal Pay Act, American women still face a substantial gender wage gap across the spectrum. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that equal pay will not be reached until 2059.

Overall, women who were full-time, year-round employees made 82.3 cents for every dollar men made in 2019, based on median earning data from the Census Current Population Survey. That means women are paid 17.7% less than men, earning $10,157 less than men.

The seven charts below illustrate the significant pay discrepancies between men and women based on race, age, geographical location, and more.

Major cities show an even bigger discrepancy.

Around the US, salaries in large cities show an even greater range of pay discrepancy between men and women.

The American Association of University Women, a nonprofit that advocates for gender equality, examined how much women earn compared to men in 25 major metro areas using 2019 US Census data from the American Community Survey.

Out of the 25 cities, the narrowest gender wage gap overall is in Los Angeles, where women make approximately 90.6% of the median earnings for men, a pay gap of 9.4%. Detroit had the widest wage gap: Women’s median earnings of $44,486 in this city is 73.8% of men’s earnings of $60,278. That translates to a pay gap of 26.2%.

Overall, Black and Hispanic women face the biggest pay gap when comparing earnings to non-Hispanic white men.

Black and Hispanic women are most affected by the wage gap, especially when compared to non-Hispanic white men, who make up the largest demographic segment of the workforce.

We looked at the wage gap for different racial and ethnic groups using median earnings data for full-time, year-round workers from the US Census Bureau’s 2019 1-year American Community Survey.

Asian women face the smallest wage gap — they earn 91.4% of what non-Hispanic white men earned, resulting in a pay gap of just 8.5%. Non-Hispanic white women earn 78.1% of what non-Hispanic white men do, while Black women earn 61.1%. Hispanic women earn 53%, or a pay gap of 47%.

When compared to Black men, Black women earn 90.7% of what men earn, and Hispanic women make 80.6% of what Hispanic men do.

The larger disparity between non-Hispanic white men’s and women of color’s earnings could be attributed to the fact that “women of color suffer both because of their gender and their race,” according to an April 2016 report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee’s Democratic Staff.

Another way of looking at that gap for women of different racial and ethnic groups is to consider when “equal pay day” for each group falls.

Number of days women have to work into the next year to earn as much as white men calendar graphic
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Taylor Tyson/Insider

The above calendar graphic shows how many days into the next year a woman has to work in order to earn what a non-Hispanic white man would have earned in the previous year, using estimates from the American Association of University Women.

Equal Pay Day for all women falls this year on March 24. This day falls much later in the year for some racial and ethnic groups.

For example, a typical full-time, year-round employed Black female worker starting on January 1, 2020, would have finally earned on August 3, 2021, what a similarly employed non-Hispanic white male worker would have made over the course of 2020 alone. That means Black women have to work around seven extra months to earn the same as non-Hispanic men earned in a single year in 2020.

It takes full-time, year-round employed Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI) women the shortest time to make what non-Hispanic white men would have made the year before. It would take a female Asian American or Pacific Islander worker over two extra months in 2021, or until March 9, to earn what a non-Hispanic white man earned the year before.

However, pay gaps for Asian women vary further. Although AAPI women make 85 cents for every dollar non-Hispanic white men make, an analysis from the Center for American Progress finds Burmese woman makes just 52 cents for every dollar the median non-Hispanic white man makes, for instance.

Read more about equal pay day by race here.

Women with children gain no salary boost, while men with children are rewarded.

In 2015, women with children were earning roughly the same as women without children, $727 and $726 respectively. However, working fathers with children earned about $141 more than a men without children. 

That gap has slowly been closing since then, as 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that women with children now make slightly more than women without kids under 18 at home.

Men with children see an earnings boost, and the difference between their weekly take-home pay was typically $189 higher than their counterparts without kids in 2019.

For working women, the difference in earnings between women with and without children is minimal. Working mothers only made $30 compared to other working women in 2019.

While this disparity can be attributed to differences in careers and work hours between men and women who have children and those who do not, a 2016 report released by the Senate Joint Economic Committee Democratic Staff says that there is also a difference in how working mothers and fathers are perceived by management.

According to the report, some employers may view motherhood as a “signal of lower levels of commitment and professional competence.” Working fathers, on the other hand, may be viewed as having “increased work commitment and stability.”