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  • Ryan Wittler

The U.S. Labor Market’s Pandemic Gender Disparities


A new Pew analysis has found that while the pandemic resulted in greater job losses among women than men, other gender disparities tell the full story.

Some highlights:

According to Pew, the number of women 25 and older in the labor force has fallen 1.3% since the third quarter of 2019, roughly similar to the 1.1% decline among men. However, the disparities widen when it comes to differing levels of education.

From the third quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2021, the number of women in the workforce who are not high school graduates dropped by 12.8%, dwarfing the 4.9% drop among similarly educated men. The number of women with high-school diplomas also fell 6.0%, while comparable men dropped just 1.8%. Among college-educated workers, women and men have fared about equally.

The pay gap:

The analysis found that the pandemic hasn’t widened the gender pay gap. According to Pew, among workers 25 and older, women earned 86% of what men earned in the third quarter of 2021, similar to the estimated 85% before the pandemic.

Pew attributes the lack of widening to the fact that, overall, employed women have higher levels of education than employed men. In 2021, 48% of women workers 25 and older had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 40% of comparable men. Since people with bachelor’s degrees tend to get paid more, women’s earnings have risen while their overall numbers have fallen.

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