Many parents’ greatest hope is that their children have bigger and better opportunities for success in life than they had.  For the most part in America, that has been achieved generation after generation.  My mom was the first woman in her entire family to attend college and she was one of only a few of her girlfriends from high school in Virginia who did.  When I started my freshman year of college however, the majority of students in higher education were female.  In fact, women today now receive the majority of degrees awarded in the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, professional and doctoral categories.  We’re now coming out into the work force, right alongside our parents, and the trends for women’s pay are changing right along with women’s ambition and priorities.  You wouldn’t know this from the political rhetoric in Washington. 

In January, it seemed to be an urgent need for the President and Congress to address rampant unequal pay across the country between men and women, but recent numbers reveal that the gap is fading away, particularly for younger women.  The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s report on women in the work force reveals that younger women actually have a significantly smaller wage gap than older women in America.  For women 20-24, women’s pay as a percent of men’s was 92.9% in 2009.  For women 25-34, it was 88.7%.  In contrast, women around my mother’s age (45-54) earn on average 73.6%and women 55-64 earn 75.3%.  In part-time work, women actually out-earn their male counterparts.  Check out the graph below to see all the numbers for yourself. 

Carrie Lukas has explained this issue in greater detail here and here.

Yet those worried about the so-called “gender gap” should take comfort that the issue is being addressed:  not by government intervention, but by an increasingly educated workforce of women.

Pay Gap for Women By Age Group

Source: Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics