Age brings lower pay and inequity for women

Earnings for female and male full-time workers tend to increase with age, though earnings increase more slowly after age 45 and even decrease after age 55, according to a new report on gender pay equity nationally and in Washington.

The report finds that gender pay gap also grows with age, and differences among older workers are considerably larger than gaps among younger workers. In 2016, women ages 20–24 were paid 96 percent of what men were paid, decreasing to 78 to 89 percent from age 25 to age 54. By the time workers reach 55 to 64 years old, women are paid only 74 percent of what men are paid.

That information is part of a report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) on gender pay equity. The state-by-state analysis finds that on average, women working full-time and year-round in Washington make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, a pay gap of 23 percent. That ranks Washington 40th out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. New York, California, Florida, District of Columbia and Vermont rank first through fifth.

“Women in Washington – and all over the country — are sick of unequal pay,” said Kim Churches, AAUW’s chief executive officer. “Pay inequity harms our families and employers, while also robbing our economy of billions of dollars. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to close the pay gap, and do it soon.”

Equal Pay Day was held on April 10 as a symbolic call for every state to adopt comprehensive equal pay laws. While 48 states and the District of Columbia (all except Alabama and Mississippi) have some form of an equal pay law, they differ significantly in their scope and strength. Currently, Washington has strong equal pay protections, according to AAUW. An analysis of all pay equity laws is available at

AAUW is a Washington, D.C.-based, non-profit organization of more than 170,000 members that studies and take positions on educational, social, economic and political issues.