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June 27, 2006

The pay divide

It’s well known that the average working woman is paid less than the average working man. But that pay divide has been cut in half in the last 25 years. Dr. Mike Walden explains what he thinks has happened.

"Several things [are] at work," says Walden, an economist with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at N.C. State University. "Number one, women are acquiring more education and more skills. So their pay in the market has risen commensurately with their better training.

"Women are also working more, and they are gaining more work experience," he adds. "Work experience is still very important in terms of how much you get paid.

"On the other hand men are actually working less, so the differences in experience have … been shrinking, and that has helped to shrink the pay gap.

"One final factor: Maternity leave and child care on site in companies have helped women keep and improve their experience … levels and, therefore, they don’t have to leave the workforce when they have children as frequently as in the past."

Posted by deeshore at June 27, 2006 08:11 AM