We’ve heard of the wage gaps women in Canada face throughout the course of their career, earning $0.87 for every dollar earned by men. But a perhaps less-discussed side of this income disparity is the way it plays out in same-gender female relationships.
A recent US analysis found that same-gender female couples earn less on average than same-gender male couples, highlighting how double pay gaps amplify this gender pay disparity. This is an important finding, demonstrating how women in same-gender relationships may not only experience discrimination based on sexual orientation — but also based on their gender.
While male same-gender married couples south of the border earned $123,600 in income, on average, female same-gender married households made $95,720. Compared to male same-gender married couples, that’s nearly $30,000 less annually, compounding year after year in lost earning potential.
It’s worth noting. however, that income for women in same-gender relationships is actually similar to the income of opposite-gender couples. While the former’s income is actually $2,000 higher than opposite-gender unmarried couples and $3,000 lower than opposite-gender married couples.
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A further caveat to this income parity is that female partnerships are more likely to see both women working; according to this data, “Same-sex married women had a significantly higher labor force participation rate [83 per cent] than opposite-sex married women [71 per cent].” This may suggest that in some cases it may take the income of two women to match the income of a single male earner in opposite-gender couples.
These findings hint at similar trends for lesbian women in Canada, except closer to home, it’s straight men who earn most, followed by gay men. All sexual minorities reported, “significantly lower median annual earnings compared with heterosexual men. In descriptive analyses, heterosexual men were found to earn the most ($55,959), followed by gay men ($50,822), lesbian women ($44,740), bisexual men ($31,776), and bisexual women ($25,290).”
Most troubling still, researchers say the gaps persisted even when differences in education levels were factored in, suggesting these issues are systemic, and deeply rooted, requiring multi-prong solutions.