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Forty-Five More Years of Pay Inequity Expected for Women

If current conditions prevail, the wage gap between men and women is projected to continue until 2059. Credit: Mary Vogt/Morguefile.
If current conditions prevail, the wage gap between men and women is projected to continue until 2059. Credit: Mary Vogt/Morguefile.
September 22, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – Women won't be paid as much as men until the year 2059, if current conditions prevail, according to a report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

Study director Jessica Milli says the median income for women working full-time was over $10,000 less than men in 2014. She says more needs to be done to close the gender wage gap – not only because women deserve to be paid equally for their work, but because it's hurting families and the economy overall.

"If you were to add up the earnings gains that women would get if they were paid the same as men in the same occupations, for the same hours of work," she says, "that would amount to an extra $450 billion into families' pockets."

Milli admits the pay gap between women and men isn't always due to unfair employers – more women work in occupations that historically have paid less. But Milli says policies to modernize overtime pay regulations, increase access to affordable child care and mandate paid family leave would "go a long way" to help shorten the time women will have to wait to be paid the same as men.

The report found neither women nor men saw a significant increase in inflation-adjusted earnings in 2014 compared with 2013, and says women who are represented by a union earn on average over $200 more per week than those in non-union jobs.

Milli says women have been adding more education and job experience to their resumes for decades, but investment in what she calls "human capital" hasn't translated into fair earnings fast enough.

"Those losses due to the wage gap really add up," she says. "Women lose about $530,000 by the time they reach the age of 59."

Milli adds losses over a career for college-educated women can be as high as $800,000 dollars. She says if the pace of closing the wage gap continues at the same rate as it has since 1960, it will be another 45 years before women see equal pay.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IN