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Between Women and Men
U.S. Department of Labor
Employment Standards Administration
Women's Bureau
1976







CONTENTS
Page
Occupational Status

2

Educational Attainment

2

Work Experience

• • • • •

3

Overtime Work

4

D i f f e r e n t i a l s by Race

4

Conclusion

5

Tables

6

THE EAKNINGS GAP BETWEEN WOMEN AND MEN
Women who worked at year-round f u l l - t i m e 1./
57 cents f o r every d o l l a r earned by men. (Table
men's median weekly earnings exceeded women's by
to work n e a r l y 9 days to gross the same earnings

jobs i n 1974 earned only
1, column 4.) In f a c t ,
about $97 2/ and women had
men grossed i n 5 days.

The earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l was wider i n 1974 than i t was 19 years
earlier.
In 1974 the $11,835 earned by men was 75 percent more than the
$6,772 earned by women (column 5). In 1955 men's earnings exceeded women's
by 56 p e r c e n t - - s u b s t a n t i a l l y l e s s . When the absolute difference between
the earnings of men and women over the 19-year period i s expressed i n constant d o l l a r terms, to take i n t o account the deflated purchasing power of
the d o l l a r , the d i s p a r i t y i s even more evident. The difference increased
more than 79 percent—from $1,911 i n 1955 to $3,433 i n 1974 (column 6).
The widening male-female d i f f e r e n t i a l i s a contrast to the gains women
have made i n employment i n recent years. Two primary factoifs have c o n t r i b uted to the widening gap. F i r s t , despite the f a c t that increasing numbers
o f women are securing higher l e v e l and better paying p o s i t i o n s , there i s
s t i l l a predominance o f women i n lower status occupations of a t r a d i t i o n a l
nature which provide l i m i t e d opportunity f o r advancement. Second, the
dynamic r i s e i n women's labor force p a r t i c i p a t i o n has r e s u l t e d i n a larger
proportion o f women who are i n or near the entry l e v e l .
The labor force p a r t i c i p a t i o n rate of women (the proportion of a l l
women 16 years of age and over who are i n the labor force) has s t e a d i l y
increased during the post-World War I I era; over the past 25 years i t has
r i s e n from 33.9 to 46.3 percent.
In 1950 women accounted f o r 29.6 percent
o f the c i v i l i a n labor force; i n 1975 they made up about 40 percent of the
work f o r c e . Many o f the new entrants as w e l l as the reentrants to the
labor f o r c e must o f t e n accept r e l a t i v e l y low-paying jobs which tend to p u l l
down t h e i r median earnings.
Women are c l e a r l y overrepresented among those workers whose earnings
are low. They are 3.7 times as l i k e l y as men to be earning between $3,000
and $4,999, and 3 times as l i k e l y to be w i t h i n the $5,000 to $6,999 earnings range.
(See table 2, colimm 5). Women are much less l i k e l y than men
to be earning $10,000 to ^4,999 and $15,000 and over.
Despite the f a c t that women were 32 percent of a l l year-round f u l l - t i m e
earners i n 1974, they accounted f o r 63 percent of workers earning between
$3,000 and $4,999; they made up 58 percent of those earning $5,000 to $6,999
(column 6). Women accounted f o r only 5 percent o f a l l year-round f u l l - t i m e
workers earning $15,000 and over. F i f t y - t h r e e percent of women yet only 18
percent o f men earned less than $7,000; 82 percent of women but only 38 percent o f men earned less than $10,000 (coltimns 7 and 8).
1/
2/
$5,063.

Worked 50 to 52 weeks, 35 hours or more a week.
The $11,835 earned by men minus $6,772 earned by women equals
This amount d i v i d e d by 52 weeks equals $97.37.




These differences between the earnings of men and women suggest that
women are being paid less for doing the same job. Undoubtedly t h i s i s true
i n some instances, but other factors are also s i g n i f i c a n t .
F i r s t , women
are concentrated i n those occupations which are less s k i l l e d and i n which
wages are r e l a t i v e l y low. Second, women working on f u l l - t i m e schedules
tend to work less overtime than men. Third, although women are as w e l l
educated as their male counterparts i n terms of median years of schooling
completed, there are differences i n the kinds of education, t r a i n i n g , and
counseling they receive, which d i r e c t s them i n t o t r a d i t i o n a l and low-paying
jobs. Fourth, women on the average have fewer years of w o r k l i f e experience
than men. Studies have shown, however, that even a f t e r adjusting f o r some
of these and other factors such as age, region, and i n d u s t r i a l concentration,
much of the male-female earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l remains unexplained—representing a maximum measure of discrimination.
Occupational Status
Despite recent changes i n the structure of the labor force, and women's
increasing attachment to t h e i r jobs, h i s t o r i c a l patterns concerning *'men's
jobs" and "women's jobs" s t i l l p e r s i s t to a large degree. Although t h i s
pattern has become less r i g i d i n recent years, such sex stereotyping s t i l l
seems to r e s t r i c t or discourage women from entering many higher paying,
t r a d i t i o n a l l y male occupations. Of prime importance» then, i n explaining
the earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l i s the concentration of women i n r e l a t i v e l y lowpaying occupations and i n lower status p o s i t i o n s w i t h i n even the higher
paid major occupation groups.
In 1974 the earnings gap was largest among sales workers, where men
were more often i n high-paying commissioned, n o n r e t a i l jobs while women
worked p r i m a r i l y i n r e t a i l trade. Men's earnings exceeded women's by 142
percent.
(See table 3.) The earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l was smallest among nonfarm laborers (38 percent). Among p r o f e s s i o n a l and t e c h n i c a l workers, men
earned 55 percent more than women. Here, doctors, lawyers, judges, engineers,
college educators, or a r c h i t e c t s were l i k e l y to be men, while noncollege
teachers, nurses, l i b r a r i a n s , d i e t i t i a n s , and health technologists were
u s u a l l y women.
When a comparison i s made of the s a l a r i e s of f u l l y employed women i n
the same h i g h l y s k i l l e d , d e t a i l e d occupations, the gap narrows but does not
disappear. The median s a l a r i e s of women s c i e n t i s t s i n 1970 were from $1,700
to $5,100 less than those of men i n the same f i e l d s . The gap was greatest
i n chemistry, where women earned a median s a l a r y of only $10,500-as compared
w i t h $15,600 for men. (See table 4.)
Educational Attainment
The educational background of a worker often determines not only the
type of job but also the l e v e l w i t h i n an occupation f o r which a worker can
qualify.
However, women who work year round f u l l time earn s u b s t a n t i a l l y
less than f u l l y employed men who have the same number of years of education,
(See table 5.) In f a c t , i n 1974 women w i t h 4 years of c o l l e g e had lower




- 2 -

incomes than men who had only completed the 8th grade, and only 59 percent
of the income of men w i t h 4 years of college* F u l l y employed women high
school graduates (no college) had less income on the average than f u l l y
employed men who had not completed elementary school; women's income was
only 57 percent of that of t h e i r male counterpartsThe absolute d o l l a r gap between men and women widens w i t h increasing
l e v e l s of educational attainment, except for 5 or more years of college.
The r e l a t i v e income p o s i t i o n of women (income of women as a percentage of
that of men) (column 4) reverses i t s downward trend w i t h the completion of
high school, and begins to r i s e w i t h college attendance, reaching a maximum
w i t h postgraduate education. The extent to which men's income exceeds
women's i s r e f l e c t e d i n the r e l a t i v e income d i f f e r e n t i a l s (colximn 5) which
reach a minimum with 5 or more years of c o l l e g e . The f a c t that the marginal
return on the investments i n education i s greater for men than for women i s
confirmed by the data i n columns 6 and 7 of table 5. Only among workers
completing 5 years of college or more i s the return from an a d d i t i o n a l educ a t i o n a l investment greater for women.
Work Experience
In addition to differences i n education as an explanation for the
earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l between men and women, a worker's earnings are also
a f f e c t e d by the amount of experience he or she has on the job or, i n general,
the average nxamber of years a person works during h i s or her l i f e t i m e .
Data
show that the number of years a woman works more than t r i p l e d between 1900
and 1960, having increased by about one-third i n the decade 1950 to 1960.
(See table below.) Although the gap i n w o r k l i f e expectancy between men and
women i s s t i l l wide, i t has narrowed considerably, due i n large part to the
increasing w o r k l i f e expectancy of women and the decline i n expectancy of men
(since 1950).
Persons born i n

Worklife expectancy ( i n years)

Year

Women

Men

Gap

1900
1940
1950
1960
1970

6.3
12.1
15.1
20.1
22.9

32.1
38.1
41.5
41.1
40.1

25.8
26.0
26.4
21.0
17.2

Source:

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor S t a t i s t i c s .

The discontinuous pattern of the worklives of many women also adversely
a f f e c t s t h e i r earning p o t e n t i a l . Women, upon reentering the labor market
a f t e r a period of absence—perhaps devoted to c h i l d b e a r i n g and other family
r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s - - o f t e n experience d i f f i c u l t y i n f i n d i n g a job, p a r t i c u l a r l y
one which i s rewarding and which u t i l i z e s past t r a i n i n g and experience.




- 3 -

In view of the important e f f e c t of experience on earnings, one would
expect that young men and women w i t h the same educational background i n
the same occupational f i e l d would receive the same beginning s a l a r i e s .
Surveys of s t a r t i n g s a l a r i e s for men and women graduating from c o l l e g e ,
however, have for many years revealed rather s t a r t l i n g differences i n
" o f f e r s " between men and women. This gap has narrowed appreciably i n
recent years, but i t i s s t i l l apparent i n some f i e l d s .
According to a November 1974 survey of 60 companies, the s a l a r i e s
expected to be offered to women who would graduate from c o l l e g e i n
June 1975 averaged only s l i g h t l y less than those to be offered to men
w i t h the same college major.
(See table 6.) This was a marked change
from e a r l i e r years when o f f e r s a l a r i e s of women were s u b s t a n t i a l l y below
those of men. In 1970, f o r example, the spread i n o f f e r s between men
and women ranged from d e f i c i t s of $86 for women i n accounting down to $18
i n economics and finance. But i n 1975, the range was from a $48 d e f i c i t
i n marketing-retailing and sales to a $26 advantage i n general business.
These f i g u r e s , of course, do not i n d i c a t e that d i f f e r e n t ' s a l a r i e s are
being offered to women and men h i r e d by the same company f o r the same job,
but are averages of o f f e r s by a l l surveyed companies planning to employ
graduates i n that f i e l d .
Overtime Work
Men are almost three times as l i k e l y as women to work overtime. The
proportion of men who worked 41 hours or more averaged about 28 percent
i n May 1975; only 13 percent of women worked overtime. Of the 14 m i l l i o n
persons who worked overtime i n May 1975, about 8.2 m i l l i o n (58 percent)
were men aged 25 to 54.
Not only i s the proportion o f women working overtime r e l a t i v e l y small,
but women's weekly earnings, even w i t h premium pay included, remain low.
About 2 out of 3 women who worked overtime i n May 1975--but only 1 out o f
5 men"eamed less than $150 a week. Only 18 percent of the women, yet 57
percent o f the men, earned $200 or more a week. Median overtime earnings
f o r a l l men were $215 a week; they were only $138 f o r women (table 7).
D i f f e r e n t i a l s by Race
The earnings of both minority race 2/ women and white women are subs t a n t i a l l y less than the earnings of men, e i t h e r minority or white.
Further,
f u l l y employed minority women continue to earn less than s i m i l a r l y employed
white women, although the gap has narrowed i n recent years.
As shown i n table 8, minority women who worked the year round at f u l l time jobs had a median wage or salary income o f $6,611 i n 1974—94 percent
of that o f white women, 73 percent of that o f minority men, and 54 percent
of that o f white men. In 1960 the corresponding proportions were 70, 63,
and 42 percent.

2/ Includes a l l races other than white; Spanish-origin persons are
u s u a l l y included i n the white population.




- 4 -

The earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l between minority men and women was cons i d e r a b l y l e s s than that between white men and women. White men's
earnings exceeded white women's by about 76 percent; earnings o f minori t y men were only 37 percent greater than those of minority women.
Conclusion
As s o c i e t a l and i n s t i t u t i o n a l b a r r i e r s are broken, more women can
be employed at the l e v e l t h e i r s k i l l warrants and they can be afforded
wider opportunities to enhance t h e i r educational and vocational s k i l l s
i n p a r t i c u l a r areas f o r which there i s increasing demand. Schools must
help provide much needed career guidance and counseling assistance.
Employers must respond, too, by o f f e r i n g women greater opportunity to
obtain s p e c i f i c on-the-job t r a i n i n g . Organized labor must a l s o make a
concerted e f f o r t to open more s k i l l e d trades to women. As women are
allowed easier access to more h i g h l y paid p r o f e s s i o n a l , t e c h n i c a l ,
managerial, and c r a f t occupations, only then w i l l the earnings d i f f e r e n t i a l narrow.




- 5 -

Table

Comparison of Median Earnings of Year-Round Ftill-Time Workers,
by Sex, 1955-1974
(Persons 14 years o f age and over)

Year

Median earnings
Men
Women
(2)
(1)

1974
1973
1972
1971
1970
1969
1968
1967
1966
1965
1964
1963
1962
1961
1960
1959
1958
1957
1956
1955

$6,772
6,335
5,903
5,593
5,323
4,977
4,457
4,150
3,973
3,823
3,690
3,561
3,446
3,351
3,293
3,193
3,102
3,008
2,827
2,719

Earnings
gap i n
dollars
(3)

Notes:

$11,835
11,186
10,202
9,399
8,966
8,227
7,664
7,182
6,848
6,375
6,195
5,978
5,974
5,644
5,417
5,209
4,927
4,713
4,466
4,252

Women's
earnings
as a
percent
of men's
(4)

$5,063
4,851
4,299
3,806
3,643
3,250
3,207
3,032
2,875
2,552
2,505
2,417
2,528
2,293
2,124
2,016
1,825
1,705
1,639
1,533

57.2
56.6
57.9
59.5
59.4
60.5
58.2
57.8
58.0
60.0
59.6
59.6
59.5
59.4
60.8
61.3
63.0
63.8
63.3
63.9

Percent
men's
earnings
exceeded
women' s
(5)
74.8
76.6
72.8
68.0
68.4
65.3
72.0
73.1
72.4
66.8
67.9
67.9
73.4
68.4
64.5
63.1
58.8
56.7
58.0
56.4

Earnings
gap i n
constant
1967 d o l l a r s
(6)
$3,433
3,649
3,435
3,136
3,133
2,961
3,079
3,032
2,958
2,700
2,696
2,637
2,790
2,559
2,394
2,308
2,108
2,023
2,014
1,911

For 1967-1974, data include wage and salary income and earnings from
self-employment; f o r 1956-66, data include wage and salary income
only.
Column 3 - coltmin
Column 4 = column
Column 5 = column
Column 6 = column
(1967 = $1.00).

2
1
2
3

minus column 1.
divided by column 2.
minus column 1, divided by coltmin 1.
times the purchasing power of the consumer d o l l a r

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census: ''Money Income
of Families and Persons i n the United States," Current Population Reports, 1957 to
1975. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor S t a t i s t i c s :
Handbook of Labor
S t a t i s t i c s . 1975.




- 6 -

Table 2.--Earnings D i s t r i b u t i o n of Year-Round Full-Time Workers,
by Sex, 1974
(Persons 14 years of age and over)

Number
(In thousands)
Men
Women
(2)
(1)

Earnings
group

Distribution
Women
Men
(4)
(3)

Likelihood
of a woman
rather than
a man to be
i n each earnings group
(5)

Women
as
percent
of a l l
earners
(6)

Number and
distribution

17,977

38,898

100.0

100.0

1.0

31.6

Less than $3,000
$3,000 to $4,999
$5,000 to $6,999
$7,000 to $9,999
$10,000 to $14,999
$15,000 and over

1,510
3,164
4,854
5,177
2,643
629

1,789
1,828
3,501
7,546
12,953
11,242

8.4
17.6
27.0
28.8
14.7
3.5

4.6
4.7
9.0
19.4
33.3
28.9

1.8
3.7
3.0
1.5
.4
.1

45.8
63.4
58.1
40.7
16.9
5.3

Cumulative
distribution
Women
Men
(7)
(8)

Notes:

8.4
26.0
53.0
81.8
96.5
100.0

4.6
9.3
18.3
37.7
71.0
100.0

I n d i v i d u a l items may not add to t o t a l s because of rounding.
Colunin 5 = column 3 divided by column 4.
Column 6 = column 1 divided by the sums of columns 1 and 2, times 100.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census:
Reports, P-60, No. 101.




- 7 -

Current Population

Table 3 . — T o t a l Money Earnings of C i v i l i a n Year-Round Full-Time Workers,
by Occupation Group and Sex, 1974
(Persons 14 years of age and over)

Occupation group
Total
P r o f e s s i o n a l , technical, and
kindred workers
Managers and administrators
Sales workers, t o t a l
R e t a i l trade
Other sales workers
C l e r i c a l workers
C r a f t and kindred workers
Operatives (including transport)
Service workers (except private
household)
Farmers and farm managers
Farm laborers and supervisors
Nonfarm laborers
P r i v a t e household workers
1/

Percent
men's
earnings
exceeded
women's

Women

Men

Dollar
gap

Women's
earnings
as a
percent
of men's

$6,772

$11,835

$5,063

57.2

74.8

9,570
8,603
5,168
4,734
8,452
6,827
6,492
5,766

14,873
15,425
12,523
9,125
13,983
11,514
12,028
10,176

5,303
6,822
7,355
4,391
5,531
4,687
5,536
4,410

64.3
55.8
41.3
51.9
60.4
59.3
54.0
56.7

55.4
79.3
142.3
92.8
65.4
68.7
85.3
76.5

5,046

8,638
5,459
5,097
8,145
(1/)

3,592

58.4

71.2

a/)

(1/)
5,891
2,676

—

—

- -

—

—

—

2,254
- -

72.3
- -

38.3
- -

Base less than 75,000.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor S t a t i s t i c s :
t i o n Reports, P-60, No. 101.




- 8 -

Current Popula-

Table 4.—Median Salaries of Full-Time Employed C i v i l i a n
S c i e n t i s t s , by Sex and F i e l d , 1970

Median salary
Women
Men

Field
A l l fields
Chemistry
Earth and marine sciences
Atmospheric and space sciences
Physics
Mathematics
Computer sciences
A g r i c u l t u r a l sciences
B i o l o g i c a l sciences
Psychology
Statistics
Economics
Sociology
Anthropology
P o l i t i c a l sciences
Linguistics
Source:




$11 ,600
10 ,500
10 ,500
13 ,000
12 ,000
10 ,000
13 ,200
9 ,400
11 ,000
13 ,000
14 ,000
13 ,400
11 ,000
12 ,300
11 ,000
11 ,300

National Science Foundation,

- 9 -

$15 ,200
15 ,600
15 ,000
15 ,200
16 ,000
15 ,000
16 ,900
12 ,800
15 ,500
15 ,500
17 ,100
16 ,500
13 ,500
15 ,000
13 ,500
13 ,000

Percent men's
salary exceeded
women' s
31.0
48.6
42.9
16.9
33.3
50.0
28.0
36.2
40.9
19.2
22.1
23.1
22.7
22.0
22.7
15.0

Table 5,—Comparison of Median Income of Year-Round Full-Time Workers,
by Educational Attainment and Sex, 1974
(Persons 25 years of age and over)

Years of
school
completed
Elementary school
Less than 8 years
8 years
High school
1 to 3 years
4 years
College
1 to 3 years
4 years
5 years or more
Notes:

Median income
Women
Men
(2)
(1)

Income
gap i n
dollars
(3)

Women' s
income as
a percent
of men's
(4)

Percent
men's
income
exceeded
women's
(5)

$5,022
5,606

$7,912
9,891

$2,890
4,285

63.5
56.7

57.5
76.4

$584

$1,979

5,919
7,150

11,225
12,642

5,306
5,492

52.7
56.6

89.6
76.8

313
1,231

1,334
1,417

8,072
9,523
11,790

13,718
16,240
18,214

5,646
6,717
6,424

58.8
58.6
64.7

69.9
70.5
54.5

922
1,451
2,267

1,076
2,522
1,974

Column 3 - column
Column 4 = column
Column 5 = column
Columns 6 and 7 =
years of school

—

—

2 minus column 1,
1 divided by column 2.
2 minus column 1, divided by column 1.
absolute (median) d o l l a r d i f f e r e n c e between successive
completed.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census:
Reports, P-60, No. 101.




Marginal
dollar
value of
increased
educational
attainment
Men
Women
(7)
(6)

- 10 -

Current Population

Table 6.—Average Monthly Starting Salaries for June 1975
College Graduates, by Sex and Selected F i e l d
Field

Women

Accounting
Engineering
Liberal arts
Marketing-retailing
General business
Science
Data processing-math

$986
1,075
784
814
840
950
885

Field

Men

Accounting
Engineering
L i b e r a l arts
Sales-marketing
Business administration
Chemistry
Math-statistics

$990
1,062
776
862
814
992
915

Source: Endicott, Frank S., "Trends i n Employment of College
and University Graduates i n Business and Industry, 1975," 29th Annual
Report, Northwestern U n i v e r s i t y , 1974.

Table 7.—Weekly Earnings of Overtime Workers Receiving Premium Pay,
by Sex, May 1975
(Numbers i n thousands)
Total
Percent
distribution
Number

Earnings

Women
Percent
distribution
Number

Men
Percent
distribution
Number

Total
Median earnings
Less
$100
$150
$200
$300
$400

5,090
$198

100.0

1,020
$138

100.0

4,070
$215

100.0

than $100
to $149
to $199
to $299
to $399
or more

352
1,010
1,221
1,769
513
225

6.9
19.8
24.0
34.8
10.1
4.4

222
363
255
157
19
4

21.8
35.6
25.0
15.4
1.9
.3

130
647
966
1,611
494
221

3.2
15.9
23.7
39.6
12.1
5.4

Source:




Bureau o f L a b o r S t a t i s t i c s :

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Unpublished

data.

Table 8.--Median Wage or Salary Income of Year-Round Full-Time Workers,
by Race and Sex, 1974
(Persons 14 years of age and over)
Percent
men's
earnings
exceeded
women's

Women

Race
Total
Minority
White

Men

Dollar
gap

Women' s
earnings
as a
percent
of men's

$6,967

$12,072

$5,105

57.7

73.3

6,611
7,025

9,082
12,343

2,471
5,318

72.8
56.9

37.4
75.7

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census: "Money
Income i n 1974 of Families and Persons i n the United States," 1976,

October 1976 (revised)




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