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Andrea Risotto, 202-540-6510
Washington, DC - 04/01/2014 - Most working women out-earn their mothers but still make a lower hourly wage than men did more than 30 years ago
The Pew Charitable Trusts today released a study finding that women in their prime working years are earning three times more than their working mothers did at the same age, strengthening family financial well-being.
Women work 10 hours more per week and earn $9 more per hour than the previous generation, translating into higher annual earnings. These higher earnings, which have been adjusted for inflation, have helped families maintain their places on the economic ladder or, particularly for families at the bottom, to move up. But even as women have increased their wages by 50 percent or more at every rung of the income ladder, they still make less than men did on the same rung more than three decades ago.
“These findings emphasize the importance of women’s earnings for family financial security and upward mobility,” said Erin Currier, who directs Pew’s economic mobility research. “But given women’s lower wages relative to men, families still don’t fully benefit from their work.”
The report, Women’s Work: The Economic Mobility of Women Across a Generation, compares women and men in their prime working years between 2000 to 2008 to workers in their prime approximately thirty years before. Historically, it has been difficult to compare women’s earnings because of the large shifts in their workforce participation. This study controls for demographic and labor market differences to create more accurate comparisons between mothers and daughters.
The report finds that middle-class families have particularly benefited from the increase in women’s work hours: the number of middle-income households earning more than their parents rose by 13 percentage points. However, despite all of the gains for working women, men’s wages are nearly twice as important for determining higher family income.
Among the findings: