Many argue that women’s prospects in the labor market have steadily increased and that any small remaining gap in earnings between women and men is not significant. They see the remaining differences as resulting from women’s own choices. Others believe that with women now graduating from college at a higher rate than men and with the economy continuing its shift toward
services, work and earnings differences between women and men may disappear entirely.

Although the wage gap, measured by conventional methods, has narrowed in the last several decades, with women who work full-time full-year now earning 77 percent of what men earn (compared with 59 cents on the male dollar 40 years ago), its sweeping effects are largely unacknowledged because its measurement is limited to a single year and restricted to only a portion of the workforce. When accumulated over many years for all men and women workers, the losses to women and their families due to the wage gap are large and can be devastating.