The idea that there is a gender wage gap based on discrimination against women is a powerful weapon  in the progressive arsenal. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton cites it often.

A new report from economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, however, finds that young womenright out of college with the right majors actually out-earn their male counterparts:

Women in a number of majors out-earn their male counterparts right out of college, according to economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Female grads in majors ranging from social services, treatment therapy, and aerospace engineering to philosophy earn more than their male counterparts, adjusting for differences like age, geographic location and age.

In all, women earn as much as or more than men in 29 of 73 majors, the New York Fed researchers examined in an analysis published Wednesday.

Those findings "seem to present counter examples to the well-established male wage premium," researchers Jaison Abel and Richard Deitz write.

The New York Fed economists estimate that women generally earn 97 cents to the dollar on what men earn, making the gender wage gap three cents on the dollar. With certain majors, women earn sixteen percent more than men. Feminists and big government types traditionally claim that the gender wage gap is 77 cents on the dollar, a figure that has been widely debunked but to which they cling. It is useful to justify government intrusion into the workplace.

But it has to be admitted that at a certain point men do begin to out-earn women regardless of major. This is called the "male premium." What gives? Does sexism rear its ugly head just as a woman is measuring for curtains for the executive suite?

The New York Fed researchers pondered this explanation:

They speculate that the male premium could come about because "discrimination becomes more widespread as men and women approach mid-career."

Let me get this straight: Everything is fine, but when women reach mid-career, their male colleagues suddenly become sexist, gang up on them and block their career advancement. This doesn't make sense.

Fortunately, the New York Fed researchers also put forward a more plausible explanation: the choices women make. The news report continues:

Or, [the male premium] could have to do with the fact that women are more likely to leave the workforce temporarily to raise children. Interrupting a career can lead to missed job experience or promotion opportunities, lowering earnings.   

It has been noted that a gender pay gap is particularly common in fields such as law or medicine where long hours and tenure are the norm and where advancement would be affected by time taken for other pursuits.

Thus choice, not discrimination, is the key factor.

But don't expect Democrats to admit this when they dust off their "war on women" rhetoric in the upcoming race for the White House.