Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Sungjoo Choi


The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibited gender-based wage discrimination in the workforce specifically between men and women that had an identical skill set and were performing the same job. The gender pay gap has been an issue in the American workforce and particularly public administration as early as the 1800s, but has continued through the 1940s, 1950s and up to 2012. There are many different forms of pay gap or other names for the same issue, such as; the glass ceiling, sex discrimination, and comparable worth. Although each term has a different meaning, the outcome remains that women are discriminated against in some form (i.e., pay differentials and/or promotions, etc.). The purpose of this paper is to examine pay disparities between men and women in the federal government and explore the progression over time in an effort to see whether there have been significant changes.

This analysis is an exploration of trends in pay gaps between men and women in the federal government. The data used in the study were gathered from all cabinet level federal agencies in 2008 and 2010 in an effort to establish a pattern.

In sum, although the pay gap has improved significantly over the past 40 years the data still shows that women are paid less than their male counterparts regardless of experience and education.