Gender Equality

Living Edition
| Editors: Walter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Pinar Gökcin Özuyar, Tony Wall

Gender Wage Gap: Causes, Impacts, and Ways to Close the Gap

  • Laura SchifmanEmail author
  • Rikki Oden
  • Carolyn Koestner
Living reference work entry



Pay inequity between men and women in the same position is defined as inequal pay and is consistently found across the globe in varying degrees and in many different sectors of labor (UN 2015). Inequal pay within an organization or within the labor market leads to a difference in average earnings between men and women, which is defined as the gender wage gap. The European Union defines the gender wage gap as “the relative difference in the average gross hourly earnings of women and men within the economy as a whole” (European Commission 2012). Statistically, this difference at the time of writing means about 20% lower earnings for women or 83 cents for every US dollar earned by a man (Geiger and Parker 2018). This means that over the course of a 40-year career, a woman experiences a lifetime wage gap of $403,440 (NWLC 2018).


Goal 5 of the United Nation Sustainable...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Science and Management DepartmentPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  3. 3.New England InterstateWater Pollution Control CommissionAlbanyUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Melissa Haeffner
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Science and ManagementPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA