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Women outearn men in one area: Part-time work

(MoneyWatch) A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that while men continue to earn more than women in general, there is one type of work where women earn more: Part-time work.

The BLS study found that overall women's earnings were drawing closer to those of men. In 1979, women between the ages of 25 and 34 were earning 68 cents for every dollar a man earned. In 2012 that was up to 90 cents on the dollar. For all age groups, women's earnings improved from about 62 cents on the dollar in 1979 to around 81 cents on the dollar in 2012.

However women who worked part-time -- less than 35 hours per week on their main job -- earned 110 percent of what men did. Median weekly earnings for women working part-time were $236 last year, while for men it war $226.

There are a number of reasons for this. For one thing only 13 percent of men worked part-time in 2012, while twice as many women did. Also, men working part-time are younger than women who do. Last year, 43 percent of male part-time workers were between the ages of 16 and 24, compared with 29 percent of female part-timers in that age group.

Also, whether full or part-time, women are more likely to work in occupations like education and healthcare, where they earn less than men who make the majority of workers in high-tech occupations.

Probably the most hopeful sign is the narrowing of the wage gap by age, which suggests that men and women of each generation are growing less tolerant of unequal pay for equal work.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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