The Gender Wage Gap Hasn’t Improved Since 2007

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No wonder we’re depressed.Photo: Paul Viant/Getty Images

It’s a good thing we have our pay-gap clocks, because the gender wage gap isn’t budging. According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average woman with a full-time job in 2015 made 80 percent of what a man did. That’s up from 79 percent in 2014, but overall the increase isn’t statistically significant. In fact, the last time the pay gap closed significantly was in 2007, according to Think Progress.

The good news is that both men and women experienced a significant pay increase in 2015 — the first since 2009. On average, men made a median of $51,212, and women made a median of $40,742.

That $10,470 difference is caused by a variety of factors, one of them being that jobs more likely to be filled by women (teachers, administrative assistants, registered nurses) generally don’t pay as well as those likely to be filled by men. And even when women break into male-dominated fields, the overall pay drops.

Another is that men are more likely to work longer hours than women, who are disproportionately tasked with child care and care of elderly parents or relatives. That means men make more overtime, which further exacerbates the wage gap.

In short, although the wage gap has narrowed for some demographics, it’s likely to remain stagnant until significant child-care and paid-leave policies are put in place. No wonder we’re so depressed.