Difference Between Female & Male Salaries

Females statistically earn less than males in similar occupations.
Females statistically earn less than males in similar occupations. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Gender disparity exists between male and female salaries. Historically, men have earned more money and enjoyed higher starting salaries than women in similar occupations. Gender differences in salary are based on several factors, including occupation and industry, age and educational attainment.

Salary Averages

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average weekly salary of all full-time wage and salary workers to be $752 as of the fourth quarter of 2010. Earnings are half a percent higher than the year prior. According to the bureau, females employed full time earned median weekly salaries of $679. This is 81.8 percent of the $830 earned weekly by men.


Industry plays a significant role in the difference between female and male salaries. Approximately 45 million women work full time in wage and salary jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of these women, 17 million were employed in education and health care. According to the bureau, females in the education and health services industries earned median wages between $700 and $750 per week. Males in the same industry earned between $909 and $974 per week. In the wholesale and retail trade industry, in which females account for about 4 million workers, women earned a median weekly salary of $523, which is only 76 percent of what men earned in the same industry.


Earning disparities between females and males increase with age. Salary differences between young workers are not that great. For example, among workers between 16 and 24 years old, females earned 93 percent as much as males, or 93 cents for every $1. Among workers 25 to 34 years old, females earned 89 percent or 89 cents for every $1 a male earned. The largest gender gap is between workers 35 years and older. In this age group, women only earn 75 cents for every $1 earned by males.

Education Level

Salary differences between female and male workers vary by educational achievement. Among high school graduates, females earned $542 per week and males earned $714 per week, according to labor statistics. Females who graduated from college earned a median weekly salary of $920 while males earned $1,171 per week. Among workers with an advanced degree, females earn $1,158 per week compared to $1,546 per week earned by males.

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