No, the Gender Pay Gap Is Not Better for Young’uns

I cannot cite this: it is in the water. Like fluoride and a general belief in an American-style higher power (Hi God! Did you see what I just did back there, with the dollar to the homeless guy? Will you reward me for it?).

But people seem to believe these days that the gender pay gap is better for younger women. The glass ceiling is thinner or even, perhaps, nonexistent? For kidsthesedays?

It is not. That water is wrong.

My friends at the AAUW (we’re friends! Really! We follow each other on Twitter!) released a yickityyuckyuck scary study: Women one year out of college make 82 cents on a dude’s dollar. (That should be a product, right? DudeDollarz? Used for kegs and athletic socks and pick-up artist books?)

But wait! you say. More women are English majors, right? And that’s why? And they are social workers and nonprofit administrators?

Nope. They controlled for major and industry.

Just let that sink in.

(UPDATE: See in comments for my excellent commenter’s point about how that 82/100 figure came before controlling for major and career.)

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3 thoughts on “No, the Gender Pay Gap Is Not Better for Young’uns

  1. Pay-ton Man-ning says:

    Yes! This is a scourge!

    Nevertheless, I did want to quibble a bit with the particulars. From the study, it appears that the 82% number was obtained BEFORE controlling for major, etc. And I couldn’t find the gap that remains after controlling for those things. For example, they mention their 2001 study, in which the gap was 20% and of that 1/4 was “unexplained.” So I’m guessing theres a similar relationship for this current study.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Pay-man Ton-ning,

    Thanks for checking my balances! You’re right! In my indignation, I didn’t read the fine print. According to Ms. Magazine (, the gap slims to 7% after factoring in for major and career choice.

    Now, that “major and career choice” part is highly gendered. We know that the caretaking professions (teaching, social work, nursing, etc) are woefully undervalued. And we know that women are more drawn to those types of professions. I’d attribute that to internalized gender norms. There’s lots written about why women aren’t choosing STEM fields as much. If the consequence of these norms is an 18% pay gap, It’s just as big a social problem.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    PLUS, if a girl goes into the high-paying majors and fields anyway, she still gets paid 7% less than her brothers.

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