When Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence penned an account last week describing how she felt when she found out she earned less than her male co-stars, some critics were quick to point to the star’s $52 million earnings. However, Lawrence highlighted a wider phenomenon: Data from the U.S. Labor Department released Tuesday show the gender pay gap is widening, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The weekly wages earned by men in the U.S. are growing at more than twice the rate of pay for women. For full-time workers, the median weekly salary for men was $889, up 2.2 percent from a year earlier, while women earned $721, only up 0.8 percent from a year earlier. Women now earn approximately 81.1 cents for every dollar earned by their male co-workers.
Part of the difference can be attributed to increased pay for men working in higher paying professional fields. The median pay for attorneys and engineers was $1,345 a week for men but just $940 a week for women. The data from the Labor Department marked the third quarter in a row where increases in men's earnings have at least doubled when compared with the increase in women’s earnings.
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"I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early,” Lawrence wrote. “I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.”
Lawrence, however, isn’t the only high-wage earner to experience the gender gap. A survey released by Bloomberg Businessweek Tuesday revealed within a few years of graduating from MBA programs, women were earning less and managing fewer people than men.
The survey found male and female graduates from the classes of 2007 to 2009 earned comparable salaries when they first entered the work force, but by 2014 the gender gap had grown with men’s median annual pay at $175,000 compared with women’s median pay at $140,000. End of the year bonuses contributed heavily to the gender pay gap, with men receiving larger bonuses.