The Gender Pay Gap Starts The Day You Leave College


Chances are, you’re making $0.82 for every dollar your male cube-neighbor makes doing the same thing at the same level as you do. According to a new study of government data from 2008-2009 by the American Association of University Women , this wage gap between genders starts right after college with your first paycheck.

The research was prompted by the trend in more women attending college than men in addition to an increase in women pursuing traditionally male-dominated fields. According to the study results, the wage gap is not only something that occurs as women get older and progress to the familial stage in life as previously thought. It’s happening early on and not simply due to a skewed interest in lower-paying degrees or field either.

Comparing recent college graduates of both sexes with the same degrees, GPAs, type of universities, occupations and hours worked, female business majors were found make an average of $38,034 one year after graduating in comparison to $45,143 for male business majors. Additionally, female engineers were found to make an average of $48,493 a year after graduation, while men made $55,142.

Christianne Corbett, a senior researcher with the American Association of University Women, told “Women are making progress, for sure, in education and in the workplace. But the pay gap is real. It’s still there. That’s what’s so confounding about it….There’s good reason to believe that part of that unexplained gap is due to gender discrimination, and most of it is probably unconscious.”

Wages were found to be equal for men and women with degrees in health care, education and the humanities.

A final note from Corbett says that the likelihood that women don’t use the degrees they earn as often as men do could be the culprit behind the continued pay gap later in life, though women are much better off now financially than their predecessors.

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