On November 15, AAUW held a panel discussion on our groundbreaking new report, Graduating to a Pay Gap. In addition to an audience of more than 60 attendees at our national office in Washington, D.C., the panel was broadcast online, including 60 AAUW watch parties held across the country. Graduating to a Pay Gap found that women one year out of college are paid less than their male peers to the tune of only 82 cents to the dollar — an inequity that makes it more difficult for young women graduates to pay off their student loans.
The panel was moderated by Jenna Johnson, an education reporter for the Washington Post, and panelists included Avis Jones-DeWeever, National Council of Negro Women executive director; Catherine Hill,AAUW director of research and report co-author; Christianne Corbett, AAUW senior researcher and report co-author; Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid and Fast Web; Lisa Maatz, AAUW director of public policy and government relations; and Bethany Imondi, AAUW National Student Advisory Council member and Georgetown University student.
The panel concluded with a lively, 30-minute question-and-answer session with queries gathered via phone, e-mail, and Twitter — using the hashtag #GapandGown — and from the live audience. Attendees asked a number of thoughtful questions on topics such as salary negotiation skills; women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and fair pay legislation. We were not able to fully address all of the great questions asked during the event, so we wanted to cover a few more points in depth for our AAUW Dialog readers. For more information, you can download the full report for free from our website.
How does the pay gap affect different races and ethnicities? Several people asked us about the pay gap among women and men of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. In the labor force as a whole, women and men who are black or Hispanic are typically paid less than their white or Asian American peers. Black and Hispanic women are paid less than their male counterparts, but the gender gap is narrower within these racial and ethnic groups than it is among whites or Asian Americans. In our dataset of college graduates working full time one year after graduation, the pay gap was still evident within races and ethnicities. Among black, Hispanic, and white workers, men were paid more than their female counterparts in the same racial or ethnic group just one year out of college. Further research is needed to fully understand how race, ethnicity, and gender interact.
How does the pay gap affect earnings over a lifetime? The pay gap adds up to a lot of money over a lifetime. According to one estimate, college-educated women working full time are paid more than half a million dollars less than their male peers over the course of their careers.
So what can we do?
- Increase transparency in pay systems and make salary ranges for specific job titles available to all employees to allow workers to put their wages in context.
- Conduct internal pay equity studies and take steps to address any gender disparities.
- Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3220/H.R. 1519).
Did you participate in a watch party? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you haven’t yet, check out the webcast of the event.
This post was written by AAUW Director of Research Catherine Hill.