(Reuters) - Women with low literacy suffer disproportionately more than men, encountering more difficulties in finding a well-paying job and being twice as likely to end up in the group of lowest wage earners, a study released on Wednesday said.
Analysis by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) found women at all levels of literacy tend to earn less than men, but it's at the lowest literacy levels that the wage gap between genders is most striking.
Women with low literacy are twice as likely as men at the same skill level to be among the lowest earners, bringing in $300 a week or less, the report said.
"Because women start off so low in terms of wages, having higher literacy and more skills really makes a big difference," said Kevin Miller, a senior research associate at IWPR and co-author of the study.
Women need to go further in their training and education level to earn the same as men, Miller said.
The analysis was based on 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy surveys, the most recent data available, and focused on reading skills, not writing and numeric literacy. That data was collected from a nationally representative sample of 19,714 people aged 16 and older, living in households or prisons.
Data showed about one-third of American adults have low literacy levels, and more than 36 percent of men and 33 percent of women fall into that category, the institute said.
Reporting By Lauren Keiper; Editing by Daniel Trotta