Gender Inequality Facts & Figures

Pay & Benefits

When the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, the amount women were paid was 59 cents for every 1 dollar men were paid. Since then the wage gap has narrowed to 78 cents for every 1 dollar men are paid. This gap costs the average full time woman worker in the US between $700,000 to $2,000,000 over the course of her life. At this pace, it will take another 50 years to reach pay equity.

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Globally, women earn 73% of men’s average wages.

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The U.S. ranks 24th in the World Economic Forum Gender Gap Index. (The top 5 countries are: Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Ireland). Other countries ahead of the U.S. include: Nicaragua (11th), Nambia (15th), and Bolivia (21st).

World Economic Forum


In the U.S., men make 128% more than women do — even in fields where women are the majority of workers. For example, women make up the majority of pediatricians in the U.S., but earn only 66% of what male pediatricians make.


In 1971, 40% of married women with children under age 18 were in the workforce. By 2010, it was 70%.

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50% of the gender wage gap is due to women working in different occupations and sectors than men. Improving women’s access to good middle-skill jobs can help close the wage gap and improve women’s economic security

Institute for Women’s Policy Research


One of the biggest differences between US society today and 50 years ago is the increase in the number of women in the paid workforce. But this change is not reflected in government policies. The US lags behind every other developed country in the world in recognizing the need for government to assist families in affording quality child care. Child care with an educational component has 2 basic benefits: it strengthens the safety net for low income working families and it adds to children’s human capital development.

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The US is the only developed country without paid maternity leave.

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Mothers with the same job as their childless female peers – with the same experience and education are paid an hourly wage that is 5% lower for each child they have.

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If women were paid the same rate as men, the poverty rate would be cut by 50%.

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Almost 66% of women in the developing world work in vulnerable jobs such as self-employed persons or as unpaid family workers. In southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, this type of work accounts for more than 80% of all jobs for women.

United Nations


There is a widening gap between the highest earning women and all other women.

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95% of childcare workers in the US are women. Their median income is: $19,512 or just over $9.38 per hour which would be about $4,000 short of the federal poverty level for a family of 4. Nearly 40% of childcare workers are women of color.

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Direct care workers for the elderly or disabled adults – another field dominated by women – are also one of the lowest paid workers in the US. Nearly 50% of these rely on safety net programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or “food stamps”)

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Unions

Women have a bigger stake than ever in the survival of unions and their continued ability to protect worker’s rights. At the time the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, women made up less than 20% of the union workforce in the country. By 2013, they were 46% of all union workers and if the current trend continues, they will become the majority by 2025.

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Women workers in unions earn 12.9% more than nonunion women. Union women workers in low wage occupations, such as childcare workers, make 24% or $2.75 per hour more than their non-union counterparts.

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Belonging to a union reduces the gender gap by 50%.

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Poverty

25% of mothers who have experienced homelessness reported leaving jobs or school due to lack of child care.

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With the same access to productive resources as men, women could increase yields on their farms by 20-30% and lift 150 million people out of hunger.

United Nations


Politics

In 1920, when women gained the right to vote in the U.S., government spending on public health care increased dramatically, particularly on maternal health.

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Women in the U.S. consistently turn out to vote at higher rates than men. But they are significantly underrepresented as policy makers in government – particularly in the South.

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Compared to other high income countries, the U.S. has a much lower percentage of women elected to government office.  In 2014, women held 18.5% of seats in Congress – which was the highest in history. Other high-income countries average 25% of women in national parliaments. Many countries, rich and poor, designate a specific share of seats for women in order to help ensure they are not isolated from political life but the US does not do this. There are 95 countries with larger shares of women representatives in national parliament than the US, of which 68 use some form of reservation system to increase women’s representation.

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Women, particularly women of color, are underrepresented in the types of jobs that typically lead to elective office, such as business ownership, military service and leadership and partnership in large law firms.

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The evidence shows that women who are elected to public office have different priorities and see very different results than their male counterparts. Women introduce many more bills on health care, education, and child care than men do.

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Women bear heavier debt burdens and use a greater share of their salaries to pay off education debt which inhibits them from running for office.

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Incarceration

There has been a 716% increase in number of women incarcerated in the U.S. since 1980.

Sentencing Project


Gender Violence

120 million girls around the world have experience sexual violence. 10% of girls under age 20 has been forced into sexual acts. They are also at higher risk for domestic violence and exploitation in the sex trade.

World Health Organization


Gender based violence has increased dramatically in parts of Central America and constitutes both one of the most compelling motivations to leave and one of the most frequent dangers encountered en route to the United States.

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development


El Salvador and Honduras claim the 2 highest rates of female homicides in the world with 14.4 per 100,000 women in El Salvador and 10.9 per 100,000 women in Honduras. In addition, 90% of female homicides in Honduras go unresolved.

Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development


Women living in “deep poverty,” especially those who are young and have children, have the fewest options to “just leave the guy.”

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There are approximately 5,000 “honor killings” internationally per year. 1,000 of these occur in India and another 1,000 occur in Pakistan. “Honor killings” are murders of women by a family member for behavior deemed “shameful,” such as a relationship outside of marriage.

Honor Based Violence Awareness Network


There are 23-27 “honor killings” each year in the U.S. 91% of the victims are murdered for being “too Westernized,” and in incidents involving daughters 18 years or younger, a father is almost always involved.

U.S. Department of Justice


200 million girls and women have endured genital mutilation.

World Health Organization


Over 700 million women & girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday. Child brides face a higher risk of domestic violence and girls under 16 face higher maternal mortality rates.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)


16 million girls, ages 15-19, give birth each year. This about 10% of all global births.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)


Women make up 55% of forced laborers and 98% people trapped in sex trafficking.


Water Collection

In Africa, 90% of the work of gathering water is done by women.

United Nations


Women and girls often spend up to 6 hours a day fetching water.

United Nations


According to one study, reducing the distance to a water source from 30 to 15 minutes increased girl’s school attendance by 12%

United Nations


Involving women can increase the effectiveness of water projects 6-7%

United Nations


Childcare

The average cost of day care for 1 child in the US ranges from $7,852 to $10,491 per year.

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Financial Investment

In 2015, the US allocated $715 million (or .01% of the federal budget) on overseas ­­women’s health and child survival programs (including vaccines).


For every $1.00 invested in the education of a child under 3, can produce up to $9.00 in future productivity gains.


Education

58% of girls around the world attend secondary school, compared to 62% of boys. Girls in conflict zones are 2.5 times more likely than boys to drop out.

World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Index