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New Study Shows Best, Worst Pay for Women

Supporters of a $15 minimum wage rally at the New York State Capitol in Albany on March 15, 2016. Supporters said an increase will boost salaries for women, who tend to earn less than men. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Supporters of a $15 minimum wage rally at the New York State Capitol in Albany on March 15, 2016. Supporters said an increase will boost salaries for women, who tend to earn less than men. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

American women who work as computer programmers, chefs and dentists earn 28 percent less than men doing the same jobs.

Those are the jobs with the biggest wage differences between men and women, according to a new study by Glassdoor. Glassdoor is an economic research company and employment website in California.

Overall, the study found that women earn 5.4 percent less than men for doing the same job, in the same location and for the same employer. The wage differences between women and men were similar in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and France, Glassdoor said.

Andrew Chamberlain is the chief researcher at Glassdoor. He said 5.4 percent is a big difference in pay between men and women because it cannot be explained by women and men taking different kinds of jobs.

It can only be explained by bias against women, or other causes – such as women not negotiating as well for pay, he said.

According to the study, women earned at least 15 percent less than men in these job categories: psychologists, pharmacists, physicians, opticians, pilots and game artists.

But in the fields of social work, selling merchandise, research assistants and physician advisors, women earn more than men, Glassdoor said.

In social work, women earned 7.8 percent more than men, the report said. That was the job category with the biggest advantage for women. It was still far less than the 28 percent pay advantage for men in some fields.

For its study, Glassdoor looked at salaries of 505,000 people. The salaries were entered voluntarily by users of the Glassdoor website.

One problem with the research is some of the categories had small samples. For instance, only 138 computer programmer salaries were covered in the report.

Catherine Hill is vice president of research at the American Association of University Women. She said the Glassdoor study provides important information.

The association found similar results in 2012 when it compared salaries between women and men after one-year of college, working the same job. The study found women earned 7 percent less than men one year out of college.

Research suggests that women do not negotiate as well as men when it comes to pay, Hill said. And women are generally more uncomfortable asking fellow employees how much they make – so they can see if they are being paid fairly.

“Women are more comfortable talking about their sex lives than their paychecks,” Hill said.

The U.S. Census Bureau has reported a bigger wage gap for men and women than the Association of University Women and Glassdoor studies.

Comparing salaries for full-time workers, the Census Bureau said women earn only 79 percent as much as men.

Both Chamberlain, the author of the Glassdoor study, and Hill said the lower wage gap in their studies does not mean women do not face discrimination.

Chamberlain said the 5.4 percent difference was higher than he thought it would be. Over a lifetime, that much of a difference in pay can amount to a “large amount of money,” he said.

Hill said the U.S. Census statistics are valid because they provide an important overview of the difference in pay for men and women. It is also the only available data that can be used to measure progress in reducing the gender gap, she said.

The U.S. Census Bureau wage gap showed women only earned 57 percent as much as men in 1975. It is now up to 79 percent.

That is progress, Hill said, but not enough.

I'm Bruce Alpert.

Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

chef n. a professional cook who usually is in charge of a kitchen in a restaurant

dentist n. a person whose job is to care for people's teeth

location n. a place or position

biasn. tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly

advantage n. something that helps to make someone better or more likely to succeed than others

uncomfortableadj. causing a feeling of physical discomfort

overview n. a general explanation or description of something

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