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April 9 2018

Millennial Monday: Does the wage gap apply to millennial women?

by Betsy Pearson

Tomorrow is Equal Pay Day and we can expect to see people blame the wage gap on discrimination. Equal pay Day signifies when women have finally earned enough to make up for last year’s wage gap. The wage gap exists—no denying this fact. Women earn just 82% what men earned, in 2016, at full-time jobs. But what is the truth behind the causesof differences between men’s and women’s earnings?

Traditional feminists want to blame the wage gap on discrimination against women in the workplace; but, pointing fingers and calling people ‘sexist’ ignores the truth. This type of victimhood mentality is also harmful because “it discourages young women (and men) from considering how their decisions will impact their long-term earnings and potential.”

In reality, there are five reasons that the pay gap exists:

- Women tend to take on different family roles

- Women often work in lower-paying professions

- Women work fewer hours than men

- Women choose different college majors from men

- Men are more likely to work dangerous jobs.

Despite these facts, research has shown that millennial women are forging their own path. According the U.S. Census Bureau, “as more young women obtained college degrees, delayed having children, and joined the workforce, they edged out millennial men for better-paying jobs.”

The study also found, “During the past three to four decades, the median income of young women who were working increased from $23,000 to $29,000 today, while the median income for men in the same age group plateaued  or began to slip.” The wage gap is smaller than traditional feminists claim and it seems to be shrinking even more with the millennial generation.  

Millennial women are entering a job market that has changed since their mothers and grandmothers started their careers. A major difference is in the education level of young women entering the job market. In fact, “more than a third of young women today have a college degree or higher compared to less than a quarter of young women in 1975.”

I believe it will be the non-traditional style of the millennial woman that plays a large part in closing the wage gap, not a more politically correct office setting.

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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