Variation in the Female-male Earnings Ratio Over Time

Open Access
Kohl, Charlotte
Area of Honors:
Political Science
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • David Lynn Lowery, Thesis Supervisor
  • Gretchen Casper, Honors Advisor
  • wage gap
  • gender disparity
  • equal pay act
  • pay disparity
  • lilly ledbetter act
This study examines the impact of federal legislative acts on the gender wage gap over the last half-century. As females have entered the workforce since the post-World War II era and have gained the same positions as their male counterparts, they have yet to reach a point of earning equal pay for comparable work. There have been three federal legislative acts passed – the earliest studied in 1963 and the latest studied in 2009 – which have aimed to close this disparity. This hypothesis suggests that these acts will cause the female-male earnings ratio to increase, which will represent a closing wage gap between females and males. This hypothesis is tested by evaluating the annual female-male earnings ratio from 1955 through 2011 in relation to the implementation of three major legislative acts, and find evidence that these acts do have influence on the female-male earnings ratio.