Pennsylvania’s Gender Wage Gap Not Expected to Close Until 2072

Female Nurse and DoctorsAccording to a new report released today by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), Pennsylvania ranks 23 in the United States earning a C+ on women’s employment and earnings. The report, which uses government and other sources to rank and grade each state, finds that if progress continues at the current rate, women in Pennsylvania will have to wait until 2072 to make as much as men. Overall, the best place for women’s employment and earnings in the United States is the District of Columbia, while the worst is West Virginia.

In Pennsylvania, women earn 76% of what men in the state earn. The report findings show that a typical working woman in the United States loses more than $530,000 over her lifetime due to the gender wage gap. The losses are greater for women with higher levels of education. By the time a full-time woman worker with a college education turns 59, IWPR’s researchers calculate that she will have lost almost $800,000 throughout her life.

“We are proud that Pennsylvania is a great place for women to work. But due to the persistent wage gap, many women here will still never see wage equality during their lifetimes,” said Janice R. Black, President and CEO, The Foundation for Enhancing Communities. “We must take action to make wages equitable for Pennsylvania’s women, who will strengthen our local economies and make women and their families financially secure.”

The Foundation for Enhancing Communities is helping to improve the odds for women through its Women’s Fund. Since 2008, the Women’s Fund has granted $79,429 to nonprofit organizations in the South Central Pennsylvania counties of Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, and Perry, and the Dillsburg Area serving women and girls. The grants focused on issues of self-sufficiency, health and human services, and education. Data obtained from the Status of Women in the States report will be used to better align the grantmaking resources of the Women’s Fund to match the community’s needs and to educate our local community on the current needs of women and girls.

You can help make a difference for women in South Central PA by joining the Dream Team of the Women’s Fund. For $16.66 a month, you can give the gift of hope to women and girls in the South Central Pennsylvania counties of Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, and Perry, and the Dillsburg Area. Make your pledge today of $1,000 or $16.66 per month for 5 years to become a member of the Dream Team. To start your Dream Team pledge or learn more about the Women’s Fund, please visit

On other indicators of women’s economic status in Pennsylvania compared to the other states and the District of Columbia. Pennsylvania ranks:

  • 31 for women’s labor force participation
  • 31 for women’s earnings
  • 17 for the proportion of professional and managerial jobs
  • 16 for the proportion of STEM jobs held by women

In terms of percentages, Pennsylvania has:

  • 58.6% of women in the labor force
  • 40.5 % in professional and managerial jobs
  • 21.4 % in the service industry
  • 4.8% in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) professions

The report finds that annual women’s earnings in the United States vary substantially by race and ethnicity:

  • African American women earn $33,555
  • Hispanic women earn $28,410
  • Native American women earn $32,000
  • Asian women earn $45,000
  • White women earn $40,586

The report also includes data on other topics such as low-wage workers, older women and millennials, and women in unions, and includes detailed breakdowns by race and ethnicity. Along with this report, IWPR launched an accompanying website with access to this information and additional data for each state; please visit to view this important data.

This report on women’s employment and earnings in the United States is the first in a series of releases from IWPR’s Status of Women in the States: 2015 project. The report analyzes employment and earnings data and identifies the best and worst states for women to work, giving each state a rank and a grade based on a composite index first developed by IWPR in 1996. The report is also the first ever to calculate when the pay gap will close in each state.

Throughout the spring, IWPR will release additional reports from the Status of Women in the States: 2015 with state-level data on:

  • Poverty & Opportunity
  • Violence & Safety
  • Health & Well-Being
  • Reproductive Rights
  • Political Participation
  • Work & Family.

Data on Violence & Safety and Work & Family are new additions to the 2015 edition. Since the first Status of Women in the States, the reports have been used to increase community and private investment in programs and policies that improve outcomes for women throughout the United States. Visit for more information about the Status of Women in the States project and upcoming releases.