Occupational Segregation Contributes to Gender Pay Gap

Women experience pay gaps in nearly every line of work, regardless of occupational qualifications or setting. Pay gaps are amplified among all education levels when gender is intersected with race. Much of the gendered income disparity is due to "steering" individuals into jobs according to their gender identity. Women are more often employed in lower-wage occupations.
People Impacted
$ 35B
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Symptoms and Causes



Steering refers to the social and cultural tendency to encourage and direct individuals to pursue interests and career paths that align with prevailing or traditional conceptions of gender identity. Women are generally steered into positions and occupations of lower pay not because they want to be paid less, but because work traditionally done by women is often valued less than work traditionally done by men.

Primary Industry

The gender pay gap varies among states according to the primary industry within a region. Regions with heavily male-dominated industries such as tech, trucking, and mining will reflect an especially skewed income distribution.

Regional, Cultural Differences in Attitudes and Beliefs

Different regions have developed varying attitudes and beliefs about what constitutes reasonable work according to one's gender identity. Strong beliefs in the traditions of gender roles have contributed to steering individuals into higher- and lower-paying jobs depending on their gender identity.


The Gender Pay Gap

  • On average, women make 82% of what men earn.

Student Loan Debt

  • Women hold nearly two-thirds of U.S. student loan debt, amounting to $929 billion

  • The reality of the gender pay gap is that women thus have a harder time paying back their loans

Lower Lifetime Earnings

  • Women receive less in social security and pensions

  • Retirement income for women amounts to about 70% of that for men

the impact
Economic Impact
  • Working women lost out on over $500 billion due to gendered pay inequity each year

  • Mothers earn 71 cents per dollar of fathers, amounting to an individual average annual income loss of $16,000

Data Sources


  1. American Association of University Women,

  2. American Association of University Women,

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