Equal Pay/Fair Wage

Colleges Go Light on Women's Pay Inequity

Monday, April 23, 2007

Some female college grads may be in for a rude awakening. Although they have enjoyed some key measures of parity with men while on campus, new data show they can expect to earn less than male counterparts immediately after graduation.

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Ann Mari May

(WOMENSENEWS)--College women on the brink of graduation this spring may be in for a rude awakening.

While they have enjoyed majority status on campus and graduate with higher grade point averages than their male classmates, young women still conspicuously lag in one crucial area: income earnings immediately after graduation.

The American Association of University Women, the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, released a report today that finds that one year after college graduation, women make 80 percent of what their male counterparts earn. As women's age increases they fall further behind men. Ten years out of school, women earn 69 percent of what their male peers do.

"We controlled for everything that could have had an effect on earnings," Catherine Hill, director of research at the American Association of University Women, told Women's eNews. "And we still found a wage gap among a demographic that you'd expect there to be very little difference with, given, for the most part, that they don't have caregiving obligations. But surprisingly, and unfortunately, we find that women already earn less; even when they have the same major and occupation as their male counterparts."

Researchers analyzed data of a nationally representative sample of over 19,000 male and female college graduates under the age of 35 and looked at two groups to measure the wage gap over time and to assess the most recent data on college graduates.

The first group received bachelor's degrees in 1992-1993 and was interviewed in 1994, one year after receiving their degrees, and in 2003, a decade after graduation.

The second group earned degrees in 1999-2000 and was interviewed in 2001, one year after receiving their degrees.

The study found that those who received their degrees in 1992-1993 and those who received degrees in 1999-2000 did not have any significant difference in their earnings one year out of school, revealing that the wage gap has remained stagnant over time.

There have been multiple data collection studies to document the gender wage gap by both government agencies and research entities in recent decades; because they vary in methodology and sampling, studies report subtle differences in measuring the gap.

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