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Beyond the Data: Why the U.S. Pay Gap Continues to Prevail

The glass ceiling remains relatively intact in nine states, as a GOBankingRates report recently highlighted.

The report analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey. Data shows that Wyoming and Utah fared the worst with women earning only slightly more than half of what their male counterparts make – roughly 18 to 20K less, in other words.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Alaska, and Washington all had a gap that spanned the $15K difference range, while North Dakota and Louisiana ranked in the $16K range.

“In every single state, women are earning less,” said Cameron Huddleston, life and money expert for GBR. “And, in most states, women are earning less in every career field.”

The report attributed the pay gaps to area-specific job sectors. In Wyoming and Utah, specifically, most jobs were concentrated in the energy production industry.

When looking at all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, the overall gender pay disparity ranged from $6,725 to $19,414.

What the findings of the report expressed is that the pay gap between men and women has a lot to do with educational attainment, experience, part-time vs. full-time, time off, minority status, and industry.

According to CNBC, the more difficult variable to measure is gender discrimination. It’s not shocking to state that women out-earn men in job sectors that primarily deal with child care, wholesale, retail, and dining attendants. It’s how the bittersweet chips fall, like in the same way the majority of construction workers are made up of men.

Perhaps it’s a layout we need to work harder in changing. Perhaps industries which are primarily dominated by a specific gender are the preferences of the individual people who choose to be in those jobs.

If saying that a state’s biggest industry might be construction – and construction is primarily made up of men – it makes sense that the men in that state are out-earning the women. What does not make sense is the pay gap that exists when both men and women are doing the same job, like how certain STEM fields are women-dominated, but the men are still out-earning women.

That is where a major problem arises and from where much of the debate of equity and equality stems.

Some gaps can be justified but others, well, not so much.

Featured Image by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

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