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  • Stephanie Nickell

Gender income gap narrowing

The gender pay gap is narrowing. The median annual income for women rose 34% between 2000 and 2012, to a median of $21,520, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Annual incomes for men are increasing at a slower rate, 20% during the same time period.
     The gender pay gap is most prevalent in the 45-to 54-year-oldage group, with women's earnings at 75% of men's. The pay gap is smallest in the 25-to 34-year-old age range, with women's earningsat 90% of men's earnings. Nearly three out of 10 women earn morethan their husbands.
     The average woman mentally juggles a constant mix of career, familyand self-care decisions at any one moment. Women are more than amarketing niche; they are the purchase drivers in their households.
     A recent study from Fleishman Hillard revealed that married orpartnered women perceive themselves making everyday purchases,with 75% or more feeling responsible for household purchases. Theresearch showed that women consider big-ticket purchases to be ajoint responsibility.
     In 2011, the economywas the No. 1 concernamong women andthis past year womenreported their child'sfuture as their primaryconcern. One24-year-old says, "Mybiggest goal is to provide acomfortable and good life for mydaughter, and making sure she growsinto a responsible, independent andcompassionate individual."
     Looking to the future, one 49-yearold says in five years, "I want my children to be healthy, successfuland on their own. I'd like for my husband and myself to be planningthe ‘what' and ‘when' of our retirement."
     Forty-seven percent of women in the U.S. said that financially theyare worse off now than they were before the recession started. That'sa considerable improvement from 2011 when 58% of women feltmore economic anxiety.
     As the economy improves women's concerns shift from economicangst to the family's future. Research shows that brands can no longerrely on understanding what women want today. They must understandand facilitate her apprehension for her family's future.

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