Women are paid less than men—and the gap is closing too slowly
Get the facts about the gender pay gap.
What you need to know
Women are paid less than men
When you look at full-time, year-round workers, women in the U.S. make 16% less than men. But that’s only part of the story. Among all workers—including the millions who worked part-time or for part of the year because of COVID-19—the gender pay gap is an alarming 23%.1
How it works
Why it matters
Women are losing out on millions
The pay gap is not about a single paycheck. Over the course of a career, the lost income can add up to over a million dollars.
Average lost income over a 40-year career due to the pay gap15
Did you know?
The pay gap widens the wealth gap: in other words, how much women are worth, or how much they own. Single white women own 92 cents on the dollar compared to single men. And shockingly, single Black women own less than 8 cents on the dollar compared to white men.16
Families are on the front line
Mothers are breadwinners in half of U.S. households—meaning their families depend on their paycheck. When moms are paid less, they have less money for basic family necessities like rent, groceries, and school supplies. Over time, this impacts families’ ability to invest in savings, higher education, or property.
Share of mothers who are breadwinners17
The pay gap is a global problem 19
Around the world, women earn 23% less than men.20 However, the pay gap doesn’t paint a full picture of women’s economic inequality. Other factors like workforce participation and access to credit hold women back—and at the current rate, it will take 268 years to close this economic gap.21
The gender pay gap by country
- 18% United States
- 17% United Kingdom
- 36% Pakistan
- 21% China
- 26% Republic of Korea
- 29% South Africa
- 10% Malawi
- 16% Mexico
- 26% Brazil
- 24% Chile
- 21% Poland
- 25% Russia
- 13% Australia
Closing the gap benefits everyone
Closing the pay gap isn’t just a win for women—it has social and economic benefits too. If women were paid fairly, we could cut the poverty rate in half and inject over $500 billion into the U.S. economy.22