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How Companies Use Math to Make the Gender Pay Gap Vanish

Bloomberg’s newest podcast, The Pay Check, analyzes the human toll of getting paid less for the same work.
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Illustration: Cari Vander Yacht

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There are two pay gaps when it comes to American women being paid unfairly: the average pay gap and the adjusted pay gap.

These two measures of how men and women are treated differently tell separate stories. Overall, the average pay gap is 20 percent, which means that, on average, U.S. women make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers. This is a broad measure, one that considers everyone in the workplace. It also tends to reveal that men usually occupy the highest paying positions. The adjusted pay gap, meanwhile, takes into account factors that include job title, seniority or geography when calculating the difference in compensation between genders.