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Women Can’t Win: Despite Making Educational Gains and Pursuing High Wage Majors, Women Still Earn Less Than Men

Women Can't Win

Despite Making Educational Gains and Pursuing High Wage Majors, Women Still Earn Less Than Men

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Though women’s leaps in educational progress have narrowed the gender wage gap, their earnings still trail those of men. Women’s path to equal pay remains inhibited by discrimination and their concentration in low-paying majors and occupations.

Key Findings


Women outnumber men at all levels of postsecondary education.

Other developed countries like Norway and France have smaller gender wage gaps and laws that are more supportive of women who have children or are taking care of elderly relatives.

Women need more than a high school diploma, and ideally at least a bachelor’s degree to make family-sustaining wages.

The wage gap grows with graduate school, in part, because women are concentrated in lower-paying master’s degrees in fields such as education and counseling.


View and download our infographic, which illustrates the reasons why women can’t win when it comes to the gender wage gap.

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Interactive Tool

Gender Wage Gap Interactive Tool: Explore the data on the gender wage gap by college major using our interactive tool.

Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analysis of American Community Survey, 2009–2016 (pooled) of bachelor’s degree holders without advanced degrees, age 25-59 working full-time full-year.


Watch this video to learn more about the gender wage gap.


Our report explores the complex set of reasons that have kept the gender wage gap in place. Even when comparing men and women who have equal educational attainment and work in the same occupation, women still earn only 92 cents for every dollar earned by men.

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