Knowledge Center

Women's Earnings and Income

Data and sources for Australia, Canada, the United States, and Global.


Women Working Full-Time in Australia Earn 16% Less Than Men1

The full-time average weekly earnings for women are $1,369.70, compared to the full-time average earnings for men of $1,631.00.2

The Workplace Gender Equality Act requires organizations to report whether a gender pay gap analysis has been performed.3

  • In 2015–2016, 27% of Australian companies performed a gender pay gap analysis.4

  • Over half (56%) of those that performed the analysis then went on to take actions to address the gap.5


In Canada, Women Working Full-Time Earned $0.83 to every $1 Earned by Men6

Improvement in the wage gap has been minor since 1997 (77.2% to 83.0% for full-time workers).7

  • But based on the average weekly wages of all workers in 2016 (including full- and part-time), women earned just 76.2% compared to men.8

  • In 2008, 18% of wives in dual-income families were their families' primary breadwinners (when measured in hourly earnings), bringing in more than 55% of the household income, up from 14% in 1997.9

United States

No Matter Race/Ethnicity, Age, Occupation, or Education—All Women Are Impacted by The Gender Wage Gap10 

The gender pay gap is defined as the difference between the median earnings of women and men. This can be either the earnings ratio or the actual pay gap.11

  • Women earned on average $0.80 to every $1 earned by men in 2015 (80%) for annual earnings.12
  • In 2016, women earned 81.9% of men's salaries based on median weekly earnings for full-time workers13 compared to 62.1% in 1979.14
    • Women's median weekly earnings for full-time work (2016) = $749 compared to $915 for men.15
    • Women's median annual earnings for full-time work (2015) = $40,742 compared to $51,212 for men.16

The gap doesn't close the higher women go. In 2016, the median weekly earnings for women in full-time management, professional, and related occupations was $1,027, compared to $1,420 for men.17

Women Have Come a Long Way But Are Still Not at Parity18

Women would need to work 44 additional days to catch up to men’s earnings in 2015.19

Women's increased education and workforce participation have contributed to the narrowing of the wage gap.20

  • One year out of college, women working full-time earned 82% of what their male counterparts earned. After controlling for hours, occupation, college major, employment sector, and other factors, the pay gap shrinks to 6.6%.21

The Gender Wage Gap Increases With Age22
  • The earnings difference between women and men varies with age. Younger women (20–24 years old) are closer to pay equity and earn 89.7% of men's earnings, compared to older women (55–64 years old), who earn just 73.7% of men's earnings for full-time wage and salary.23
  • Women were paid about 90% of what men earn until age 35, at which point median earnings for women start to slow down, further widening the pay gap.24 

The average full-time working woman will lose $418,800 over a 40-year period in wages, due only to the wage gap. To catch up to her male counterparts, she will need to work 10 additional years. 25

  • Asian women will lose $349,320, and need to work an additional 7 years.26
  • Black women will lose $840,040, and need to work 23 additional years.27
  • Latinas will lose $1,043,800, and need to work an additional 34 years.28

White and Asian Men Outearn Women of Every Race/Ethnicity29
  • Black women earn 89.3% of Black men's earnings.30
  • Latinas earn 88.4% of Latinos' earnings.31
  • Asian women earn 78.4% of Asian men's earnings.32

The Gender Wage Gap Varies by Industry33

The biggest wage gap in the United States is in the finance and insurance industry. Women account for more than half of all employees, yet earn only $0.60 for every $1 men make. 34

Male-dominated occupations pay more than female-dominated occupations, even when comparing similar skill levels.35

  • The industry closest to parity is construction. Women earn about $0.98 cents for every $1 men earn.36

The Gender Wage Gap Impacts Families37

Close to half (42%) of all women were sole or primary breadwinners, earning at least half of the family income in 2015. 38

Married men have the highest earnings.39

  • The median weekly earnings of married men working full-time are greater than any other group.40
    • Married men’s full-time median weekly earnings=$1,030.41
    • Married working women’s full-time median weekly earnings=$804.42
    • Never-married men’s full-time median weekly earnings=$673, compared to the full-time median income of never-married women=$614.43
  •  Among dual-earner couples, 71.8% of husbands outearned their wives.44
Increased Education Generally Leads to Higher Salaries45

Today women are earning more college degrees than ever,46 but men still earn more than women at every educational level.47


The Global Gender Gap Will Not Close Until 218648

Among OECD countries, Korea has the widest gender wage gap at 36.7%, followed by Estonia at 28.3% and then Japan at 25.9%.49

Gender Wage Gap, Select OECD Countries50

Country % Gender Wage Gap
Australia (2014) 15.4%
Germany (2014) 17.1%
Japan (2014) 25.9%
Mexico (2015) 16.7%
United Kingdom (2015) 16.9%


Additional Resources

American Association of University Women (AAUW), The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap: Spring 2017 Edition (2017).

Ariane Hegewisch and Emma Williams-Baron, The Gender Wage Gap 2016: Earnings Differences by Race and Ethnicity  (Institute for Women’s Policy Research Fact Sheet, 2017).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Highlight of Women’s Earnings in 2015 (November 2016).

Catalyst, “The Pay Gap.”

Institute for Women's Policy Research, “Pay Equity & Discrimination.”

Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Women’s Median Earnings as a Percent of Men’s Median Earnings, 1960-2015 (Full-Time, Year-Round Workers) with Projection for Pay Equity in 2059 (2016).

Jessica Schieder and Elise Gould, Women’s work” and the Gender Pay Gap: How Discrimination, Societal Norms, and Other Forces Affect Women’s Occupational Choices—And Their Pay (Economic Policy Institute, 2016).



Levo League, “#Ask4 More.”

National Committee on Pay Equity, “Equal Pay Day.”


How to cite this product: Catalyst. Quick Take: Women's Earnings and Income. New York: Catalyst, June 21, 2017.