Fox 24 Northwest Arkansas: Income Inequality Can Cost Working Woman $1 Million in Her Lifetime

Ian Pajer-Rogers |

From NWA Fox 24:

by Justine Ward

New census data shows that more women than men have college degrees.  However, this may not be translating to their bank accounts. 

The American Association of University Women showed that there is a 7% wage gap between male and female college graduates a year after graduation, despite similar background, age and location. 

One expert says when it comes to the difference in pay between men and women, $500 here or $1,000 there a year can add up over time. 

"Those salary differentials over time could equal probably between $1 million and $1.5 million for your average white collar professional woman that's not available to her in retirement that is available to her equally qualified male colleague," said Janine Parry, University of Arkansas professor and author. 

Parry says some of the reasons for the difference: women are less likely to negotiate and salaries are kept private.  Many woman are not even aware they may be making less than their male co-workers. 

"It may just be that at especially privately held big companies salary can't be discussed, women are hired at a lower wage, men are hired at a higher wage and they're not allowed to discuss it so nobody knows," Parry said. 

A Pew Research Center Reports shows that moms are now breadwinners in 40% of U.S. households.  However, Parry says there is not just a wage gap, but a parenting gap as the difference in pay tends to get bigger as women get older. 

According to Parry: "Women's income tends to go down per each child that they bring into their lives.  Men's income conversely tends to go up on average per each child." 

Solving an issue with deep roots is not easy.  In fact, Parry says improvement has been in a static state as of late.  

"It would be a mistake to think that the equal pay act of 1963 solved these issues... The reality is that women are the sole bread maker or an important contributor to lots of families in Arkansas and elsewhere and it's in everyone's interest to make sure they're compensated fairly for their labor," Parry said. 

Read the full article from NWA Fox 24.