Wage parity between men and women in the United States is a matter of law. You cannot discriminate in wages and salaries solely on the basis of sex. Yet, in the many years since that became the law of the land, women’s wages have never reached 100% parity.
There are many reason why that is. We are doing better, and the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual publication titled Income, Poverty and Health Insurance in the United States: 2009 reveals that progress.
The chart above shows the parity ratio from 2000 to 2009. In those ten years, the ratio set four records. Indeed, it is possible to state that by this measure the Bush years were good for women’s wage parity.
The report may suggest one reason why parity remains just out of reach. The numbers in households headed by a woman with no husband, single parent households, have increased or stayed steady for the last several years for whites and Asians. The same holds true for those same households below the poverty level. Coupled with a solid core of black women lead households in poverty, it would suggest one reason for the stall in wage parity.
Could wage parity in the modern economy be tied to the woman’s ability to have a partner in the household? The number of female headed households in poverty is up 40% in ten years and all such households are up 18%.