12 Numbers Highlighting the Wage Gap

PHOTOS: How women's rights have paid off.

Equal pay for equal work? Don't bet on it. President Obama may have made the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the very first act he signed into law as president, but women still earn just 77 cents on the dollar on average, when compared to men. African-American and Hispanic women earn even less. Yes, the number is an old refrain, repeated so often it has little impact. But in 2010, there's more reason for everyone—women and men—to care about the persistent pay gap than ever before. Since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, women's wages have risen less than a half-penny per year, from 59 cents then to 77 cents now. Which is why, in 1996, the National Committee on Pay Equity created "Equal Pay Day," an awareness campaign and yearly marker of just how much more women must work to earn what men earned in the year past. April 20 is Equal Pay Day this year, meaning that women must work 110 days into 2010 to make what their fathers, husbands, brothers, and male colleagues earned in 2009.

It's a statistic that's faced its fair share of criticism, and Equal Pay Day is indeed a broad look at average pay among all workers, regardless of job title. (One counterargument is that men work longer hours in higher-paying fields.) But whatever the figure, a gender gap still undoubtedly exists—and in the current economy, that reality should be more unnerving than ever. Women now make up half the workforce; they are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in the majority of American families. Bringing home less bacon now can hurt American families more deeply than ever before. So, in honor of Equal Pay Day, 12 sobering figures about men, women, and work.

8 months' worth of groceries
The amount a woman could buy for a family of four if she were paid the same as her male peers, according to data from the Institute for Women's Policy Research and the USDA.

58 cents
The average wage among Latina women in the United States. The number among African American women is 70 cents.

23 percent
The amount less than their male colleagues that full-time-working women who haven't had children make 10 years out of college.

$1.2 Million
The amount less, over a lifetime, that a female college graduate will earn, compared to her male peers.

The amount less a female MBA (graduating from a top-tier school) will make than her male colleagues in her first job out of graduate school,according to a new Catalyst study.

1 in 4
The number of businesspeople worldwide who say gender parity is a priority at their companies. One in five say that their companies commit resources to parity initiatives. The result, according to consulting firm Bain & Company: "Women have yet to rise to leadership levels at the same rate and pace as their male counterparts. Women enter the workforce in large numbers, but over time steadily 'vaporize' from the higher echelons of organization hierarchy".

$13 Trillion
The difference in total income between men ($23.4 trillion) and women ($10.5 trillion) annually, worldwide.

The state with the worst wage gap, at 63 cents for every $1 a male earns. Vermont has the smallest gap, at 84 cents.

The number of women employed as "secretaries" in 2008, still the most common job for women.

43 percent
The number of women who are employed in jobs that make a median income of $27,000.

"Patriarchal corporate culture"
The biggest barrier to female leadership, according to the findings of a new World Economic Forum report, which noted that "Leading companies are failing to fairly integrate women in the workforce."

9 percent
The amount by which the United States' GDP could increase if the gender gap were closed.