Sisterhood Blog

College Grads' Wage Gap

By Simi Lampert

Thinkstock

I have some news that is going to shock everyone, so please, brace yourself. Maybe hold on to your framed diploma; you know, that piece of paper that cost you a good $160,000. Here it is: Women earn less money than men.

Not so shocking after all, is it? But it should be. Because, as a new study suggests and the Huffington Post reports, this pay gap is not simply the result of women’s choices — a theory that is so often used to explain the well-acknowledged salary disparity between men and women in America. Common wisdom also tells us that the reason men as a whole earn more than women is because they choose higher-paying careers, and women tend to put family first after having children.

In order to test this hypothesis, the American Association of University Women conducted a study at a point in the subjects’ lives when these variables should not come into play: the study looked at men and women a year out of college. The findings were only slightly better than the average wage gap for America at large: Where the American Community Survey found American women make 79 cents to the male dollar, this study found recent female grads were making 82 cents to male grads’ $1.00. In other words, the average graduating woman received $35,296 while men were paid an average of $42,918.

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