On the bright side for recent female graduates—but less so for their mothers—the Labor Department has released a report that shows the traditional gender gap in average salary shrinking for younger women.
The New York Times Economix blog has pulled some of the clearest graphs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and here are some key takeaways:
- Women under age 35, who work full-time, make about 90% of the salary of men in an equal position.
- Full-time working women over age 35 earn about 75% of the salary of their male counterparts.
Why Is the Gap Shrinking?
The Times muses that the increase in salary and subsequent decrease in wage gap may have to do with the fact that women and men tend to display different patterns of job seeking, that women currently earn the majority of college degrees, and that college graduates are now paid more than they ever have been in the past.
But it turns out that this pattern isn’t new: in the past, the wage gap was larger on the whole, but it was always relatively smaller for younger women.
Should We Break Out The Champagne?
While it’s tempting to celebrate, to feel that glow of satisfaction at a mere 10% disparity in wages for an entire cohort, we have to keep in mind that there is still something very wrong. Women (who are people) make less than men (who are also people) because…it’s tradition?
It’s 2010—about time for “wage gap” to leave our vocabulary.