Quiz: Some Surprising Facts About the Federal Gender Pay Gap

A lot has changed for women in government in just the past two decades.

A lot has changed for women in the federal workforce since 1992.

The federal government has narrowed the gender pay gap by 17 cents on the dollar among its employees over the past two decades, with women earning 87 cents for every dollar a man earned in 2012, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Female federal employees are better educated and better compensated now than they were in the early 1990s; they also continue to increase their presence in a range of traditionally male professional fields, including law enforcement and information technology.

Still, there’s room for improvement. Women’s starting salaries in 2012 tended to lag behind men’s by 10 percent on average, according to the study. And while the pay gap is less than 1 cent on the dollar for women in the Senior Executive Service, they are still underrepresented in the top ranks of government: They make up only about one-third of the SES, despite accounting for 46 percent of the white-collar federal workforce in December 2012.

What are some other surprising facts about pay disparity between the sexes in the federal government? Take our quiz below and find out. We’ve rounded the figures to the nearest whole number.

1.     What percentage of new federal hires in the white-collar, professional job category were female in 2012?

a.     40%

b.     53%

c.      39%

d.     64%

2.     What was the average annual salary for a female GS-15 in 2012?

a.     $145,000

b.     $126,000

c.      $110,000

d.     $154,000

3.     True or False: Men received more promotions than women did on a percentage basis in 1992, 2002 and 2012, the three years OPM looked at.

4.     At which department did women earn 93 cents for every dollar a man earned in 2012?

a.     Veterans Affairs

b.     Health and Human Services

c.      Defense

d.     Agriculture

5.     True or False: The gender pay gap is smaller among younger federal employees.

6.     In which federal positions do women now earn more than men?

a.     Personnel management – administrative

b.     Pilot/Navigator

c.      Business/industry – professional

d.     All of the above

7.     What percentage of white-collar federal women had a post-doctorate degree in 2012?

a.     22%

b.     35%

c.      16%

d.     50%

8.     True or False: There were more African-American men in white-collar federal jobs in 2012 than African-American women.

Ready for the answers? Click here.

(Image via Airotkiv/