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Gaps in Pay

Male researchers at US federal agencies are paid more than their female counterparts, despite mechanisms to prevent wage disparities, Nature Careers reports.

It adds that a team of sociologists filed freedom of information requests to access government employment records from 1994 to 2008. With that data, the team compared how much men and women in the same positions at the same agencies were paid, as it reports in the American Journal of Sociology. The team, led by the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Laurel Smith-Doerr, found that though the wage gap has declined over time, it still persists.

As Nature Careers notes, the largest gap was at the National Science Foundation where women in 2007 were on average paid $0.73 for every dollar a man made, though that was up from $0.58 in 1994. Smith-Doerr and her colleagues found that a contributing factor to the wage gap is that some agencies don't follow the government-wide scale for determining pay based on job and experience.

NSF, which in part funded the study, tells Nature Careers that it is aware of the pay discrepancy and that it began in 2016 to narrow the salary range for each of its pay grades. The National Institutes of Health also tells Nature Careers it is working to address these disparities.