13 April 2016

50% of Americans blame family commitments for women’s low pay


Yesterday, April 12, was “Equal Pay Day” in the USA – an occasion to mark the date in 2016 that represents the extra days an average woman, who is working a full-time job, has to complete in order to earn the same as a typical man did in 2015. The latest data suggests that women earn 79 cents for every dollar that male counterparts make.

Unveiling a monument to promote female equality, President Obama noted how the pay gap “is even wider for women of color”:

“The typical black woman only makes 60 cents, a Latino woman, 55 cents, for every dollar a white man earns. If we truly value fairness, then America should be a level playing field where everyone who works hard get a chance to succeed. That’s good for America.”

We asked YouGov’s First Verdict panel how they explained the pay gap. More than “sexism by employers” (cited by 45%) and lack of “women in management and boardrooms who fight for equality” (41%), 50% blamed the fact that many women spend long periods out of the job market; periods in which their pay falls behind that of men. Other analysts of the apparent inequity argue that “the sorting of men and women into jobs and industries that pay differently throughout the economy explains 54% of the overall or “unadjusted” pay gap”. Only 30% of panellists spotlighted the explanation that “men tend to work in better-paying job sectors”.

The full results are displayed in the graph below.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 16.25.22

For more about Portrait of America and the methodology behind First Verdict, click here.

For the complete Portrait of America catalog, click here.

Tim Montgomerie is Editor of Portrait of America