Federal Pay for Women Is Catching Up

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The pay gap between male and female federal government employees has narrowed significantly in the past 20 years as workers have become more alike in education, experience and the occupations they hold, according to a report to be released today by the Government Accountability Office.

Women earned 89 cents for every dollar earned by their male co-workers in 2007, the latest figures available, up from 72 cents in 1988.

The GAO said about half of the gap was due to factors including years of experience and levels of education, but it couldn't fully account for the remainder of the disparity.

The gap has narrowed as both genders have shifted away from clerical or blue-collar jobs including typists, clerks and foremen to more professional or administrative positions including accountants, engineers and human resources managers. The shift over two decades is tied to the end of the Cold War and an increased use of technology and government contracting.

The full findings of the report will be released today by Congress's Joint Economic Committee, which is holding a hearing to mark Equal Pay Day, an annual observation organized by women's rights groups.

-- Ed O'Keefe

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