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More or Less Unequal? Evidence on the Pay of Men and Women from the British Birth Cohort Studies

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Gender pay differences are not merely a problem for women returning to work and part-time employees, but also for those in full-time, continuous careers. In data from cohort studies, the gender wage gap for full-time workers in their early thirties fell between 1978 and 2000. This equalization reflects improvements in women’s education and experience rather more than a move towards equal treatment. Indeed, had the typical woman full-timer in 2000 been paid at men’s rates she would have actually received higher pay than the typical man. Within one cohort, passing from age 33 to 42, gender inequality increased. This was partly due to differences in the qualifications and experience of the women in employment at those points, but unequal treatment also rose among women employed full time at both ages.
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Keywords: British birth cohort studies; gender pay gap; life course

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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