WASHINGTON (AP) — Young American women are increasingly likely to receive pay nearly equal to that of their male counterparts: Their earnings are 93 percent of those of young men, a new study has found. A report being released today by the Pew Research Center paints a mixed picture.
Although women under 32 now have higher rates of college completion than men in that age group, the analysis of census and labor data found that their hourly earnings will slip further behind by the women’s mid-30s, if the past three decades are a guide.
That widening gap later in life is due in part to the many women who take time off or reduce their work hours to start families.
Other factors cited in the report: gender stereotyping, discrimination, weaker professional networks and women’s hesitancy to aggressively push for raises and promotions, which together may account for 20 percent to 40 percent of the pay gap.
The near-equal pay for young women is being driven in large part by their educational gains. Some 38 percent of women ages 25 to 32 now hold bachelor’s degrees, compared with 31 percent of young men.
As a result, 49 percent of employed workers with at least a bachelor’s degree last year were women, up from 36 percent in 1980. That means more women hold higher-skilled, higher-paying positions.
The current ratio of hourly earnings for young women to young men, now 93 percent, is up from 67 percent in 1980 and is the highest in government records dating back to at least 1979. (Across all age groups, women last year made 84 percent of what men made.)
At the same time, among young women, 59 percent said that being a working parent makes it harder to advance in a career, compared with 19 percent of young men who said that.
Across all age groups, 22 percent of women and 9 percent of men reported having quit jobs for family reasons at some point during their lives.
Some 34 percent of young women said they weren’t interested in becoming a boss, compared with 24 percent of young men.