Inside The Gender Pay Gap For Teachers

It's no secret that gender pay gaps exist. It's also no surprise that the gender pay gap affects women disproportionally across many industries. It varies from state to state, with some of the worst pay gaps existing in Wyoming and Utah (per United States Census Bureau). The pay gap between men and women is upwards of $15,000 in these states, a disparity that unequivocally has the power to change the way you live. In general, women that work full time still only make 83% of a male wage (via AAUW), with this percentage decreasing to 75% for women between the ages of 55-64. 

You may have heard a little about the gender pay gap in the education industry without fully realizing the stark statistics that show the uneven ground between male and female teachers. In a profession that's undeniably important for the future education of America's youth, it's extremely concerning how women can be stopped from earning as much, and, in more extreme cases, from climbing to the top.

Despite the majority of teachers being women, they are still paid unfairly

As reported by USA Today, 63.2% of people in the education industry are women. Despite this, women are paid $16,000 less on average than men who hold the exact same jobs. Moreover, Insider states that 76% of teachers are female, an approximate increase of 13%. This makes it even more jarring that women are often paid much less, with teachers in states like Illinois being paid an average of $8,500 less than their male counterparts despite having the same level of experience (via EducationWeek). 

In terms of higher positions, men often beat women to the top job, too. A 2018 Texas study found that women often have to wait much longer for a promotion or to get a chance for a higher-earning position (via The Hechinger Report). School principals make more money in general, but the above study found that, while women do get promoted or hired to be principals at an elementary school level, they are often overlooked when it comes to principal positions at high schools. The above knowledge makes it clear that, on the whole, women are prevented from climbing as high as their male colleagues.

The gender pay gap exists in teaching outside of the U.S., too

The gender pay gap isn't just a problem in the U.S., either. School leaders' union NAHT used data from UK workforce statistics to determine that men in education earned an average of 2.4% more than women. Though may not sound like a lot, this percentage sharply increases to 11.4% when it comes to more senior roles like head teachers. The pay gap grows wider with age and seniority, too. As women grow older, they receive small but steady increases, compared to men who tend to have larger increases. Nevertheless, by the age of 60, women may be earning a horrifying £17,334 (approximately $20,130) less than men. 

Though data for 2021 shows that the pay gap is decreasing, progress is still relatively slow. The Government Department for Education, which covers the whole of the UK, reports a 4% decrease in the pay gap, a figure down from 7.9% in 2020. Though this is a good sign, it's important to remember that in the U.S. women are still being paid much less, as are women in the UK when it comes to senior positions.