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Study: Milwaukee's gender pay gap persists

Though Milwaukee's gender pay gap is narrowing, men continue to outearn women here, just as they do across the nation.

That's according to a recent report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum, commissioned by the Women's Leadership Collaborative.

The study states that in Milwaukee County, women working full-time make 85 percent of what men earn on average. That gap is narrower than in 2010, when area women earned 81 percent of what men did.

The local difference in pay is better than the national gender pay gap in which women earn just 79 percent of what men do.

Unfortunately, Milwaukee's smaller gender pay gap does not appear to be because employers here are less likely to engage in gender discrimination. The study's authors say the narrower gap "appears influenced more by relatively low earnings among men than particularly high earnings among women."

The study states that Milwaukee County men earn nearly 8 percent less than men nationally, while Milwaukee County women earn just 1 percent less than the national median for women.

Milwaukee's gender pay gap persists though 31.7 percent of women ages 25 and over have a bachelor's degree or higher, while only 29.2 percent of men can say the same.

Interestingly, though the gender pay gap is greater in neighboring Waukesha County, the annual average salary for women there is $52,298, well above the national median for women ($41,752) and higher than the Milwaukee County median for men.

According to the report, Milwaukee County women's median earnings are lower than men's earnings in all 23 occupation groups because women are underrepresented in the positions that pay most within those groups.

For instance, though women and men hold about the same number of positions in the management group, women are in only 37 percent of the top executive positions that pay the most.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of gender in matters of pay, promotion, hiring, firing and more. Contact the Milwaukee employment law attorneys of Alan C. Olson and Associates if an employer has violated your workplace rights.

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