Gender Pay Gap Persists for Degree-Earning Women

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Women in the United States do not earn as much as their male counterparts despite receiving more college education and earning more degrees than men, according to a new study by Student Loan Hero. 

Since 1976 women have made up the majority of the U.S college student population, with 54 percent attending higher education institutions in 2018. However, women with bachelor’s degrees or higher earned just 76 percent of what men did in 2019, according to the study. 

“Given that the percentage was slightly higher in 1994, 1995 and 2017, the U.S. isn’t seeing much improvement on this front,” the study states.

When analyzing full-time working women who are 25 and older, regardless of degree, researchers found they earn more than 80 percent of what men did in 2019. 

“Unless you work for a company with an open salary structure, you’re not necessarily going to know what your male colleagues are earning,” says Andrew Pentis, senior writer at Student Loan Hero. “So it falls to female workers to start the conversation. Decades of income inequality shows that employers themselves aren’t going to get it started.”

The gender pay gap extends to academia as well. A study released in March by the Women’s Power Gap Initiative, a partnership between the Eos Foundation and the American Association of University Women, found that women of color are almost nonexistent as top earners at elite universities. Researchers discovered that women make up 24 percent of the top 10 earners and women of color account for 2.5 percent even though they have 16 percent of all PhDs.

Last month on International Women’s Day, President Joe Biden established the White House Gender Policy Council, which will work across executive departments and agencies to advance gender equity in the country.