The differences are significant, and demonstrate that the gender wage gap isn’t just about the gender binary: it’s complicated by other factors, and those factors require more critical and analytical attention. Are some working mothers penalized more than others? Are some working fathers penalized for prioritizing family, while others are not? And how does family life impact the wages of LGBTQ couples? According to a 2012 meta-analysis, the wage gap between straight and LGBT families is significant. In Fast Company’s response to the data, they zeroed in on the role of higher ed — and implicitly, class — pointing out that “PayScale found that at the GED/high school grad level, the pay disparity is 2.3%, while PhDs have the highest controlled pay gap (5.15%), followed by MBA holders (4.7%), and MDs (4.6%). Engineers tie with graduates of art and design schools for the lowest controlled gender pay gap of 1.9%. By contrast, graduates of ivy league schools report the second-highest controlled gap at 4%.”
Payscale’s data is interesting because it draws from a wide cross-section of workers. The data is crowdsourced from 1.4 million full time employees and analyzed by Payscale’s data scientists. (You can learn more about their methodology here.) Because Payscale has access to such a big pool of workers, they have the opportunity to do ongoing in-depth analyses. I hope they continue to analyze this and future survey data to further contextualize the gender wage gap, which, as we can see, is anything but simple.