In 2012, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 80.9 percent, a decline of more than one percentage point since 2011 when the ratio was 82.2 percent. This corresponds to a weekly gender wage gap of 19.1 percent for 2012. Women’s median weekly earnings in 2012 were $691, a marginal decline compared to 2011; men’s median weekly earnings were $854, a marginal increase compared to 2011.
Another measure of the earnings gap, the ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings for full-time year-round workers, was 77.0 in 2011 (data for 2012 are not yet available), less than half of a percentage point lower than in 2010 and equal to the gap in 2009. (This means the annual gender wage gap for full-time year-round workers is 23 percent.)
As Bryce Covert noted at Forbes, “What’s particularly strange about this is that the wage gap typically narrows during a recession.” But women have been hammered by the hemorrhaging of public sector jobs that has occurred in the last few years, as states and the federal governments cut back significantly due to conservative insistence on austerity.
The wage gap between women and men persists even for high-paying jobs, and women are significantly more likely to work for the minimum wage. A woman’s total lifetime earnings lost to the pay gap could feed a family of four for 37 years.