Women earn less out of college, but not for the reasons you’d think

Published: Thursday, Oct. 25 2012 2:28 p.m. MDT

Among college graduates one year out of school, women earn 77 percent less than men of similar backgrounds.

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Among college graduates one year out of school, women earn 23 percent less than men of similar backgrounds, according to “Graduating to a Pay Gap,” a study by American Association of University Women.

The study compared men and women who graduated in the same major from the same university, with similar work experience and marital statuses.

While the report faults gender discrimination for the difference in wages, it acknowledges that actual instances are hard to track.

Formal complaints of gender discrimination have increased 18 percent in the past 10 years, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Another explanation for the difference in income may be wage negotiation. Women are less likely to negotiate their wage than men, according to the study.

Since disclosing personal salary amounts in an office is taboo, many women might not know they’re earning less, according to Businessweek.

Overall, women earn 82 percent of the salary that men do. That overall gap in income could also be caused by major selection. Majors that tend to earn less are filled by a majority of women.

Education and humanities majors are made up of 81 and 60 percent females, respectively, but more potentially lucrative majors such as computer science and engineering only have 19 and 18 percent.

One effect of the difference in wages between genders could be that women have less money to pay student loans, so they could be burdened with them longer, according to the study.

EMAIL: sparker@desnews.com

TWITTER: @SeanRParker

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