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Graduating to a Pay Gap The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation

Graduating to a Pay Gap The Earnings of Women and Men One Year after College Graduation, Christianne Corbett, M.A. and Catherine Hill, Ph.D., October 2012

  • “Women are paid significantly less than men are in nearly every occupation. Because pay equity affects women and their families in all walks of life, it is not surprising that many women consider the issue important. Many business leaders also believe that pay equity is “good business,” because it improves morale and productivity. Yet progress in closing the gap between men’s and women’s pay has been slow and, in recent years, has stagnated. For more than 130 years, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has advocated for gender equity in education and the workplace. During this time, women have gone from a small minority on college campuses to a majority of the student body. Today, women make up half the workforce, but they continue to earn less than men do throughout their careers. Why does this gender pay gap persist? This question is a focal point of AAUW’s research and advocacy work. Graduating to a Pay Gap finds that women working full time already earn less than their male counterparts do just one year after college graduation. Taking a closer look at the data, we find that women’s choices—college major, occupation, hours at work—do account for part of the pay gap. But about one-third of the gap remains unexplained, suggesting that bias and discrimination are still problems in the workplace.”
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