Five Ways to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap

Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Ariane Hegewisch, M.Phil., Barbara Gault, Ph.D., Gina Chirillo, Jennifer Clark

September 16, 2016
  • ISBN:
  • ID: IWPR #C447

The 79.6 percent wage ratio figure, the most commonly used figure to measure the gender wage gap in the United States, is often derided as misleading, a myth, or worst of all, a lie. In this fact sheet, we argue that the figure is an accurate measure of the inequality in earnings between women and men who work full-time, year-round in the labor market and reflects a number of different factors: discrimination in pay, recruitment, job assignment, and promotion; lower earnings in occupations mainly done by women; and women’s disproportionate share of time spent on family care, including that they—rather than fathers—still tend to be the ones to take more time off work when families have children. Just because the explanation of the gender wage gap is multi-faceted does not make it a lie.