Gender wage gap persists for teachers, analysis finds

This audio is auto-generated. Please let us know if you have feedback.

Dive Brief:

  • Even when women make up the majority of the teacher workforce, gender wage gaps persist as male educators are paid about $4,000 more than female teachers in combined earnings of base salary and supplemental compensation, according to an analysis by The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization. 
  • The research, which uses National Center for Education Statistics data from the 2015-16 and 2017-18 school years, found that the wage gap shrank to $2,200 when certain observable teacher and school characteristics were considered — amounting to about $714 in base pay, $1,204 in extra duty pay, $180 for a non-teaching job over the summer, $80 for summer teaching and $0 for merit pay.
  • To close the gap, the analysis explores some potential solutions, including supplemental compensation in collective bargaining agreements, prohibition of employers from accessing a new hire’s salary history, paid parental and family leave, increased pay transparency and participatory budgeting policies open to the broader community. 

Dive Insight:

In comparison to base salary pay, the analysis found supplementary payments to teachers “are more likely to reflect gender-based discrimination.”

The analysis also looked at teacher union-related data from the National Council on Teacher Quality and found large districts in states that permit collective bargaining had larger gaps in base pay but lower gaps in extra duty pay compared to smaller districts and those that do not have unions. 

One potential reason the gender wage gap among teachers occurs is that some women may have fewer qualifications to receive a higher salary or they may be perceived by hiring managers as more likely to choose to work less, especially if they are mothers, researchers said. Another factor could be that their employers are showing differential treatment to men over women in their field, which is more commonly defined as employment discrimination, according to the analysis. The researchers added that discrimination might explain some wage gaps in compensation from other sources, such as extra duty pay and non-teaching summer work. 

The teacher wage gap data stands in contrast to survey findings from AASA, The School Superintendents Association, that show women superintendents made slightly more than men, despite women remaining underrepresented in the top K-12 leadership position at a rate of 26%. 

Another concerning gap in teacher wages is the overall disparity between educators and similarly educated individuals in different professions. This finding has been described by the Economic Policy Institute as the “teacher pay penalty,” where teachers on average earned 76.5 cents on the dollar in 2021 from what similar college-educated professionals were paid. 

This article originally appeared in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.