About 75% of young women believe the US needs to do more to bring about equality in the workplace, a new study finds, despite a narrowing pay gap and steady employment gains for women at higher levels of business and government, reports an article in The guardian today.
“Those women remain as pessimistic as their mothers and grandmothers regarding gender equality in the workplace, according to the report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.
“The study finds that women under 32 now make 93% of what young men earn, aided by women’s higher rates of college completion. But the analysis of census and labor data also shows the gender pay gap will widen for women by their mid-30s, if the experience of the past three decades is a guide.
“That widening gap is due in part to the many women who take time off or reduce their hours to start families. Other factors cited in the report are gender stereotyping, discrimination, weaker professional networks and women’s hesitancy to aggressively push for raises and promotions, which together may account for 20% to 40% of the pay gap.
“Even so, just 15% of young women say they have been discriminated against because of their gender.
“The report shows that we have made substantial progress on gender equality in the workplace,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University. “But our progress has shown us more clearly what still needs to be accomplished.”
More doors are now open to women, but they can now see how far they are from equality in high-level jobs,” he said.
Kim Parker, associate director with the Pew Social & Demographic Trends Project, also attributed young women’s negative assessment of workplace equality in part to the slow movement of women into top job positions. “They feel empowered in many ways, yet when they look at the workplace, they see it as a ‘man’s world’ with the deck stacked against them,” she said.
Women are increasingly moving into higher positions both in government and business. They make up nearly half the workforce, and the share of women in managerial and administrative occupations is nearly equal to that of men – 15% compared with 17%. Another milestone occurred Tuesday, when General Motors picked Mary Barra, a 33-year company veteran, as the first female head of a major US car company. Still, women currently hold just 4.5% of Fortune 1000 CEO positions, the Pew report said.
The near-equal pay for young women is being driven in large part by their educational gains. Some 38% of women ages 25-32 now hold bachelor’s degrees, compared with 31% of young men. As a result, 49% of employed workers with at least a bachelor’s degree last year were women, up from 36% in 1980. That means more women in higher-skilled, higher-paying positions.