Here's How Long Women Have to Work to Earn the Same as Men

A woman has to work about 14.5 months to earn the same as a man in 12 months. On Equal Pay Day, we look at how much women earn as a percentage of men's income.

Senior women enjoy retirement.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. This date symbolizes how many months into a year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. This year, Equal Pay Day lands on March 12. That means the average woman working full-time has to work about two and a half months more than the average man to earn what he earned last year. 

Women earn 84 cents for every dollar men make

“Women’s labor force participation is the highest it has been in decades, and the gender pay gap is the narrowest it has ever been on record. Yet, despite this progress, the fight for equal pay continues,” according to the Proclamation on National Equal Pay Day, 2024 by the White House.

And although the actual wage gap between men and women generally widens or narrows depending on your level of education, age, occupation, tenure, race and ethnicity, it is so much more than just a paycheck. It also sheds light on equal opportunity, dignity and fairness in the workplace. 

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Occupations and median earnings

The Census Bureau's report on Equal Pay Day and women in the workplace looks at different examples of occupations and median earnings over the past 12 months. Here are some of the standout findings.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
OccupationMedian Earnings Estimate-MaleMedian Earnings Estimate-FemaleWomen’s earnings as % of men's earnings
Healthcare Support Occupations$39,160$34,69188.60%
Computer and Mathematical Occupations$103,298$87,50984.70%
Legal Occupations$150,658$80.67353.50%
Community and Social Services$54,946$53,74597.80%

Equal Pay Act of 1963

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires that men and women in the same workplace receive equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical but must be substantially equal based on job content, not job titles. 

This law covers all forms of pay, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation, and more. If wages are equal between men and women, employers may not reduce the wages of either sex to equalize their pay.

Paycheck Fairness Act

“We are making tremendous progress, but there is still much more we must do, President Biden said in the Proclamation. “My Administration continues to call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act — commonsense legislation that would increase pay transparency and give workers more tools to fight sex-based pay discrimination.”

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Kathryn Pomroy

For the past 18+ years, Kathryn has highlighted the humanity in personal finance by shaping stories that identify the opportunities and obstacles in managing a person's finances. All the same, she’ll jump on other equally important topics if needed. Kathryn graduated with a degree in Journalism and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. She joined Kiplinger in 2023 as a contributor.