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Gender Gap Not Just For Workers

On Tuesday, The Pennsylvania Policy Blog published a great recap of the latest news in Pennsylvania around the gender gap (and there has been a lot lately). The gender gap in question refers to the difference in what women earn on average compared to men, and is an issue we have explored at various times on this blog.

The impact of the gender gap does not end when women stop working, however. Since income during your career affects income in retirement, the gender gap follows women beyond their years in the workforce. In Pennsylvania, for instance, the typical single male over 65 in retirement has $3,011 more per year then he needs if he is renting, according to the Pennsylvania Elder Economic Security Initiative. However, the typical single female in the same situation has $5,065 less than what she needs in order to live in her home with dignity. These numbers translate into a $8,076 gap in income between typical Pennsylvania men and women in retirement.

There are many reasons for this pay gap, and they do include issues such as the amount of time spent in the workforce and education level. But not all of the gap can be explained by these issues - at least part of it boils down to unequal pay between men and women.

The US took a step in addressing unequal pay earlier this year with the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which clarified that every discriminatory paycheck or action restarts the clock for filing a pay discrimination complaint. But to go further, we also need passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would strengthen the protections available under the Equal Pay Act and close the gaps that have led to a narrow, constrained reading of the law’s protections. Please take a moment to learn more about Paycheck Fairness and take action. Also, you can learn more about unequal pay in retirement from the short presentation below or from reading the Pennsylvania Elder Economic Security Index.


  1. This is a great post! Caregiving also contributes to less income for women in retirement. While out of the workforce caring for children or an elderly relative, women do not recieve Social Security credits and therefore have a lower Social Security benefit once they reach retirement age.


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