For Immediate Release
June 12, 2001
CONTACT: Paula McKenzie
Trend Indicates Gradual Loss in Pay Equity for Professional and Technical Women
Washington, DC – On the anniversary of the landmark 1963 Equal Pay Act, the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO supports the call for additional legislation to eliminate the wage gap for women and minorities and announces a trend toward a widening wage gap for professional and technical women.
“Wage disparity remains a serious and pervasive problem, even though gender differences in labor force participation and occupational distribution are diminishing,” said Paul E. Almeida, President, Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO.
“Women are now the majority in the professional and technical occupations. Yet they continue to earn less than men in professional, technical, and all other occupations. The inequity persists even though women have been earning more Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees than men for almost 20 years. It’s time for this to change.”
The Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO encourages support for the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 77 and H.R. 781) which will toughen penalties for equal pay violations and step up enforcement along with other proposed federal legislation that supports the goal of equal pay for equal work.
“This important anniversary gives us the opportunity to assess America’s progress in creating a more just society,” said Almeida. “Our review of current statistics reveals that the wage gap for professional and technical women is increasing.”
Wage Gap for Professional and Technical Women
|Technicians and Related Support||23.4%||25.3%||29%|
- Women now account for almost half of all workers. In fact, 65.6 million were in the labor force in 2000. Work outside the home is a necessity rather than an option for most women. Even among mothers of children under the age of one, almost 60% worked full or part-time in 1999.
- Women have made significant progress into both the mainstream and the higher echelons of the labor force. In the year 2000, more women than men entered law school and women accounted for over 40% of all physicians.
- In 2000, professional women earned about 26% less than their male counterparts; female technicians and related support workers earned 29% less than those who were male; and female administrative support, including clerical workers, earned over 20% less than similarly employed men.
- In 2000, female sales workers earned more than 40% less than similarly employed men, while women in service occupations earned about 24% less than their male counterparts. Women comprise the majority in all these occupations. In precision production, craft and repair; in farming, forestry and fishing occupations, women earned between 15% and 29% less than similarly employed men.
- In 1998, the median annual income of female high school graduates was about half that of their male counterparts. The median income of women with Bachelor’s degrees was over 40% less than that of similarly qualified men. Women with Master’s degrees earned 34% less than men with Master’s degree, while the median income for a women with a professional degree was more than 39% less than that of a similarly qualified man. A woman with a doctorate earned 29% less than her male counterpart.
Recent studies indicate that between and quarter and one half of the gender wage gap remains unexplained by differences in education, training, tenure, experience and hours worked, and some economists attribute some or all of this unexplained portion to discrimination.
“More than 2000 years ago Plato said, ‘If women are expected to do the same work as men, we must teach them the same things.’ Now that women are taught the same things isn’t it about time they were paid the same wage?” asked Almeida.
The Department for Professional Employees (DPE) represents 23 affiliated unions comprising more than four million white collar workers. In 1977, the AFL-CIO chartered DPE in recognition of the dramatic rise in professional and technical employees among union members.