Publication Date

1-2015

Abstract

Drawing on a random sample of 112,990 people working in the U.S. hospitality sector in 2010, this study found strong evidence that there remains a significant difference in the income of women and men working in the industry, even after accounting for likely explanations such as differences in educational attainment and hours worked, as well as structural forms of discrimination such as occupational crowding. Across the entire hospitality industry, after controlling for these factors, being a woman was associated with a loss of income of $620, relative to a mean income of $11,271 per year. For the food service sector, being a woman cost $542 relative to a mean income of $9,339, and for the lodging sector, the gender penalty was $2,368, compared with a mean income of $17,783. However, managers faced the most severe penalties, as being a woman cost $6,617 compared with a mean income of $30,577 (21.6%). This study echoed findings of a study that used 1989 data, which also found that women were paid substantially less than men across the entire industry. While the 2010 study data showed at least some progress toward wage equality, the wage difference remains noticeable despite the advancement of women in professional and executive positions in the United States in general, and specifically within the hospitality industry.

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© Cornell University. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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