Higher education, often touted as the cure-all for what ails a society, does help lift women out of poverty. However, it does little to close the gender pay gap. A recent study found that, somewhat astoundingly, the average mid-forties college educated male earns 55% more than his female counterparts. Fifty-five percent. The researchers also observed the following:
- The pay gap between the genders starts of small in the beginning of their careers, but that by mid-career, it is abysmal.
- Most of the earnings divergence happens within companies. When men and women both stay with the same organization, men enjoy much faster earnings growth.
- Although married women change jobs with almost the same frequency as men do, they do not benefit from these moves in terms of earnings increases. Men’s career moves tend to be to better paying roles.
- Sector and industry jointly explain only about a third of the widening of the gender earnings gap that occurs over time.
- By the apex of a person’s career, the largest gender gaps for the college educated can be found in the health, legal, and financial sectors.
Perhaps the explanation for this extreme pay gap for white collar women has to do with the fact that white collar roles do not tend to respond to legislative remedies the way that blue collar roles do. Or, it might be cultural, in that work performed by women has traditionally been undervalued and unappreciated. (On a daily basis, the average married woman who works full time still performs three hours more unpaid domestic work than her husband.) Maybe it’s because women negotiate less forcefully than men. Or maybe it’s because women are still not seen as equal to men in the workplace. Whatever the reasons, we have a long way to go.