The gender pay gap has narrowed substantially since the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963. Still, the typical woman working full time in the United States earns $40,022 a year — or only about 80% of the median annual income for men working full time of $50,119.
A study conducted by the Pew Research Center estimates a woman would need to work an additional 44 days a year to earn the same amount as her male counterpart.
Several explanations — some real, some imagined — are often given to account for the discrepancy. For example, women typically are out of work longer during pregnancy, women leave the workforce sooner, and women are more likely to pursue lower-paying careers. However, even when accounting for all these factors, there still appears to be a gap.
In the Los Angeles metro area, the wage gap is not as pronounced. The typical woman working full-time in Los Angeles earns $41,460 a year, or about 89.9% of the $46,108 median income of men in the metro area.
Differences in pay between men and women varies widely throughout California. Of the 26 metro areas in California, only two have a smaller gender wage gap than Los Angeles.
The gender pay gap in Los Angeles also varies by industry. The largest earnings gap between men and women in the metro area can be found in legal occupations, where women earn only 64 cents for every dollar earned by men.
In installation, maintenance, and repair occupations, the typical female earns 127.2% of what the typical male earns. However, women comprise only 3.4% of total employment within the industry, which itself is relatively small, so the higher wages do little to meaningfully improve the overall wage gap.
The pay gap also tends to be worse in professions in which women have historically been excluded. The typical female in the sales profession in Los Angeles, for example, earns only 72 cents for every dollar a man in the field earns.