Knowledge Center

Women's Earnings and Income

Data and sources for Australia, Canada, the United States, and various countries around the world.


The Workplace Gender Equality Act requires organizations to report whether a gender pay gap analysis has been performed.1

In 2013-2014, 24% of Australian companies performed a gender pay gap analysis.2

  • Almost half (46%) of those that that performed the analysis then went on to take actions to address the gap.3
  • The weekly earnings gap between women and men was more than $298.4


In Canada women earned almost $0.82 to every $1 earned by men, slightly better than in the United States.5

Improvement in the wage gap has been minor since 1977 (77.2% to 82.4% for full-time workers).6

  • But based on average weekly wages, of all workers in 2014 (including full- and part-time), women earned just 75.3% compared to men.7

  • 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 1997.8

United States

No matter what their race/ethnicity, age, occupation, or education, all women are impacted by the gender wage gap.9 

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.10

  • Women earned on average $0.78 to every $1 earned by men in 2013 (78%) for annual earnings.11
  • In 2014 women earned 82.5% of men's salaries based on median weekly earnings for full-time workers12 compared to 62.1% in 1979.13
    • Women's median weekly earnings for full-time work (2014) = $719 compared to $871 for men.14
    • Women's median annual earnings for full-time work (2013) = $39,157 compared to $50,033 for men.15
  • The gap doesn't close the higher women go. In 2014, the median weekly earnings for women in full-time management, professional, and related occupations was $981 compared to $1,346 for men.16
Women have come a long way but are still not at parity. Women will need to work more than 70 additional days each year to catch up to men.17

Women's increased education and workforce participation have narrowed the wage gap.18

  • The "unexplained" wage gap = One year out of college, women earned 82% of what their male counterparts earned. After controlling for hours, occupation, college major, industry, and other factors, the pay gap shrinks to 6.6%.19

The gender wage gap increases with age.

  • The earnings difference between women and men varies with age. Younger women (89.8% of 20-24 year old women) are closer to pay equity than older women (73.7% for women 65+) for full-time wage and salary workers.20
  • Women were paid about 90% of what men earned until age 35, at which point median earnings for women start to slow down compared to men's earnings, further widening the pay gap.21 
  • The average full-time working woman will lose more than $460,000 over a 40 year period in wages due only to the wage gap. To catch up, she will need to work 12 additional years. 22
White and Asian men outearned women of every race/ethnicity.23


The gender wage gap varies by industry.

The biggest wage gap in the United States is in the financial activities industry where women earn nearly $0.71 for every $1 men make, regardless of level. 24

  • The industry closest to parity is construction. Women earn about $0.92 cents for every $1 men earn.25
  • Traditionally male-dominated industries pay more than traditionally female-dominated industries.26
The gender wage gap is a family issue.

Close to half of all women were sole or primary breadwinners,  earning at least half of the family income in 2012. 27

Married men earned the most. The median weekly earnings of married men working full-time is greater than any other group.28

  • Married men full-time median weekly earnings=$98529
  • Married working women full-time median weekly earnings=$76830
  • Never married men full-time median weekly earnings=$62731
  •  Among dual-earner couples, 71% of husbands outearned their wives.32
More education leads to higher salaries, and today women are earning more college degrees than ever.33

But men earned more than women at every education level.34


The global gender gap will not close until 2095.35

Korea and Japan have the highest gender wage gap at 39% and 29% respectively.36

Denmark, Finland, Ghana, Iceland, Malawi, Norway, and Sweden have some of  the smallest gender pay gaps.37


For Further Reading


How to cite this product: Catalyst. Catalyst Quick Take: Women's Earnings and Income. New York: Catalyst, 2015.