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Most Working Women Deny Gender Discrimination in Their Pay

Still, four in five Americans favor Clinton pay initiative


PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup poll finds that 30% of working women in the U.S. believe they are paid less than they would be if they were a man, while more than two in three, 70%, do not. On the other hand, with just 13% saying women at their workplace get paid less than men who perform the same job, working men are even less likely to perceive that women are victims of gender discrimination in their pay.

"Pay equity," a longtime goal of the feminist movement, resurfaced in the news two weeks ago when President Clinton proposed increased federal funding for programs aimed at closing the wage gap between working men and women in this country. Clinton did so touting statistics showing that the average salary for full-time working women is only 75 cents on the dollar of what full-time working men earn.

The Gallup survey, conducted January 25-26, asked respondents about their employment status. Roughly two-thirds of men and just under half of women indicated they are employed full time. Among these groups, only slight differences in attitudes about women's pay were found along age, educational status, income and other dimensions. The largest difference among full-time employed women is seen by education. Those with a college degree are less likely to feel discriminated against in this way than are women with less formal education, by a 22% to 35% margin.

Clinton's Plan
Critics of President Clinton's initiative say that the "75 cents" indicator is misleading, and cite other statistics showing that men and women of equal educational and work experience are actually virtually equal when it comes to pay. Nevertheless, Gallup finds the American people widely supportive of Clinton's proposal to spend $27 million on additional pay equity efforts. Seventy-nine percent favor the proposed spending, including 70% of men and 86% of women. Just 18% are opposed to the plan.

Survey Methods
The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,044 adults, 18 years and older, conducted January 25-26, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

As you may know, President Clinton has proposed that Congress allocate $27 million to increase enforcement of equal pay laws relating to women in the workplace. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

  Favor Oppose No opinion
2000 Jan 25-26 79% 18 3

Which of the following best describes your current situation -- employed full time, employed part time, retired, a homemaker, a student, unemployed but looking for work, or unemployed and not looking for work?

  Men Women
Employed full time 65% 45%
Employed part time 5 12
Retired 19 20
Homemaker 0 15
Student 5 4
Unemployed, looking for work 3 2
Unemployed, not looking for work 1 2
DISABLED (vol.) 2 *
No answer * *

Do you personally feel that because you are a woman, you get paid less than a man would in your same job, or is this not the case?


  Yes, get paid less No, not the case No opinion
2000 Jan 25-26 30% 70 --

From what you know or just your impression -- do women at your workplace get paid less than men who do the same job, or is this not the case?


  Yes, get paid less No, not the case No opinion
2000 Jan 25-26 13% 78 9

* = less than 0.5%
(vol.) = volunteered response


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