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Gender gap costs women $443,360 over 40 years, study says

May 11, 2013|By Shan Li
  • Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, wrote "Lean in: Women, Work and the Will to Lead."
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, wrote "Lean… (Britta Pedersen / EPA )

It's a well known fact that men still out-earn women in the working world.

That gender gape means that a full-time working woman will earn $443,360 less than her male counterpart over 40 years, according to a recent study by the National Women's Law Center.

Translated another way, a woman needs to work 52 years compared to a man's 40 years just to break even with him.

The study came to its conclusion by taking the 2011 wage gap between full-time men and women -- $11,084, according to the U.S. Census Bureau -- and simply multiplying that over four decades, which is taken as the average span of a career.

The results assume the earnings gap stays steady through the years. Although woman have made made significant strides at closing the difference, the gap actually widened last year. In 2012, women earned 80.9 cents per every dollar earned by men, compared to 82.2 cents the year before, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

That can partly be explained by the recession and its aftermath, when government cuts disproportionately affected women in the public sector. And as the economy recovers, many women are finding jobs in low-wage industries such as retail and hospitality.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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