While there is still work to be done when it comes to equaling pay between men and women, it appears that the gender gap is closing quicker than anticipated. That is the finding of a new study, conducted by two University of Georgia professors, which found that over the past 30 years, the gap between wages in men and women has declined significantly. However, despite these decreases, the current gap remains at $6 an hour, according to the research.
To arrive at these conclusions, Jeremy Reynolds, associate professor of sociology at the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and Jeffery Wenger, associate professor in at the School of Public and International Affairs, took into account two traditional biases that had been neglected in previous research. These biases included the fact that oftentimes men overestimated their salaries when they were surveyed about income and both men and women underestimated the salaries when reporting for others.
Since previous data about the gender gap relied upon self and proxy reporting, the researchers concluded that previous estimates about the gender wage gap actually underestimated the true extent of the problem.
"It appears that the gender wage gap has closed more quickly over time and by a greater amount than previous estimates suggest," said study co-author Jeremy Reynolds.
According to the research, prior studies that relied upon self and proxy reporting stated the wage gap closed by 16 percent from 1979 to 2009, but the researchers proved that by taking into account the above biases in reporting, the gap actually had actually closed by 22 percent in that time.
"Things were worse than we thought they were in the past," said co-author Jeffrey Wenger. "The gap was larger and now reporting has come into balance. That balance gives us more confidence in what we reported. "
That balance is the result of more men and women self reporting in recent years. Thanks to this, the researchers believe that recent results have given a clear picture of the true extent of the wage discrepancy. Despite the wage gap and the challenge it presents, Wenger believes that several factors will help to continue the current shirking trend.
"The gap for men and women will probably close as more women enter into careers and jobs that were traditionally held by men," said Wenger. "I think you are going to see the gender wage gap close because more women are finishing high school than men, more women are going to college now and they are getting better education. This means they will be able to gain access to certain male dominated professions and that will significantly help to close the gap."
Reach BusinessNewsDaily staff writer David Mielach at Dmielach@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_M89.