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New GAO Report on Gender Pay Gap for Women in Management and Working Mothers at JEC Hearing

Sep 28 2010

Washington, D.C.
– The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released a report requested by Representative Carolyn Maloney, Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), updating the groundbreaking 2001 report on women and management.  The GAO report provides an industry-by-industry assessment of the gender wage gap among managers.  This report also measures the gender wage gap among managers who have children and the resulting impact on family incomes.  Additionally, this report reveals the underrepresentation of women and, in particular, mothers in management on an industry-by-industry basis.

The report found that on average, women comprised 40 percent of managers in 2007, up just slightly from 39 percent in 2000, and earned 81 cents for every dollar earned by their male management peers, an increase of just two cents from 2000.  The report also found mothers who are managers earned 79 cents for every dollar earned by fathers who are managers, unchanged from 2000.  Further, in 12 out of the 13 major industries, fathers were more likely than mothers to be managers.

“The progress on the gender pay gap has been too slow.  Today’s GAO report shows that since 2000 there has been no progress for management moms, and female managers without children have only seen a 2 cent increase per dollar in their paychecks,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chair of the JEC.  “The stubborn pay gap is an economic security issue for families, especially as women have increasingly become the major breadwinners in their families.  When working women have children, they know it will change their lives, but are surprised to learn it will also change their paychecks.  If women managers at the top of the economic ladder continue to suffer from a persistent pay gap, imagine its toll on women in lower wage jobs.  That’s why today I am requesting GAO to conduct a similar, in-depth report on the gender pay gap among lower-wage workers.”

Key findings of the GAO report include:

  • Women are underrepresented in management positions in nearly all industries, and little progress has been made since 2000.
  • The pay gap between male and female managers working full-time narrowed only slightly between 2000 and 2007.  In 2007, female managers earned 81 cents for every dollar earned by male managers.  That figure was 79 cents in 2000.
  • The pay gap in 2007 varied substantially across industries, however.  It ranged from 78 cents on the dollar for female managers in construction and financial activities to 87 cents on the dollar for female managers in public administration.
  • Mothers with children under age 18 are underrepresented in management in nearly all industry sectors, and face a larger pay gap than women without children.  The pay gap for mothers is 79 cents for every dollar earned by male managers with children, unchanged since 2000.  In contrast, the pay gap for women without children under age 18 is 83 cents on the dollar, 2 cents smaller than the 81 cents on the dollar pay gap figure for this group in 2000.
  • While the average female manager earned the majority of her household’s wages, her share of household wages was smaller than the share contributed by the average male manager to his household’s wages.
  • While women managers are less educated than male managers, women managers made significant progress in closing the education gap between 2000 and 2007.  From 2000 to 2007, the share of women managers with a bachelor’s degree increased 6 percentage points – from 45 percent to 51 percent – while male managers with a bachelor’s increased by 3 percentage points, from 53 to 56 percent.

Chair Maloney concluded, “The findings of the GAO report make it clear that legislation is needed to close outstanding loopholes that allow for gender pay discrimination.  The House has passed legislation that the Senate should send to the President’s desk immediately – the Paycheck Fairness Act would strengthen the original Equal Pay Act.”

The report will be a focus of a JEC hearing this morning entitled "New Evidence on the Gender Pay Gap for Women ad Mothers in Management," at 10:00 A.M. in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building.


The Joint Economic Committee, established under the Employment Act of 1946, was created by Congress to review economic conditions and to analyze the effectiveness of economic policy.

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