Women's earnings continue to rise slightly every five years between the ages of 20 and 40, at which point the median salary peaks at $49,000. From there until retirement 25 years later women's earnings remain flat, while men's salaries continue to grow until into their 50s, at which point the median salary is around $75,000, reports Marketwatch. This discrepancy persists even when men and women hold the same jobs, according to numbers released by salary comparison site PayScale, with a regular pay gap of 2.2% for most workers and an even higher one, 6.1%, for executives. ThinkProgress notes that the study shows the wage gap persists in every industry, at every educational level, and at every job level. "There’s discrimination," says Heidi Hartmann, the president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
"A lot of pay is still based on the head of household model, where expectations that men earn to support their families while women earn money that's just "nice to have" persist, she says. "There’s a heck of a lot of inefficiency the way supervisors set wages." And while more women do tend to take some time off of work to start a family, this doesn't explain the stalled increase in earnings a full decade before men see the same plateau. Hartmann says that at least some of the difference may be more in the kinds of jobs women are currently taking versus men, and Payscale's lead economist backs that up. "It’s not really a wage gap, it’s a jobs gap," Katie Bardaro says. Fast Company has a more detailed breakdown, ranging from a gender wage gap of 9.4% in farming, fishing, and forestry, to 1.4% in personal care and service. (See why Jennifer Lawrence thinks she's paid less than her male co-stars.)