Women’s wages eclipse Mom’s generation

Working women earn almost three times what their mothers did at the same age about 40 years ago, though most still make less than men at the time when adjusted for inflation, according to a report by Pew Charitable Trusts.

Researchers at the Washington-based nonprofit said the study is the first direct comparison of women in their prime working years, about age 40, with their counterparts a generation ago. Women today work 10 hours more per week and earn $9 more per hour, according to the report released Tuesday.

“These findings emphasize the importance of women’s earnings for family financial security and upward mobility,” Erin Currier, who directs Pew’s economic mobility research, said in a statement. “But given women’s lower wages relative to men, families still don’t fully benefit from their work.”

Today, four times more women are employed full time, according to the report. They work an average of 34 hours per week for $19 an hour, or $34,400 per year, the data show. That’s up from a generation ago, when women worked 24 hours a week for the equivalent of $10 per hour, or $12,500 per year.

Forty-seven percent of women today earn more than their fathers did four decades ago, while 70 percent of sons do. Men’s wages remain “the more important contributing factor to higher family income among couples,” according to the report.

The study used income, earnings and wage data, adjusted to 2009 dollars, from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, conducted by the University of Michigan. Data from 2000 to 2008 was compared with figures from 1968 to 1972.

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