The most popular statistic regarding women in the workforce seems to be the fact that they make 70 cents for every dollar that men earn. A simple Google search of “70 cents to a dollar” brings up hundreds of articles from the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal, all debating the factual accuracy behind this spotlighted data point.
But, as a new survey from Pew Research points out, the news for women in the workplace isn’t all bad. In fact, not only are millennial women graduating college at a much faster rate than their grandmothers, but they’ve also begun to “outpace men in earning bachelor’s degrees,” with “about 27 percent of women aged 18 to 33 years old holding a bachelor’s degree,” compared to just 21 percent of millennial men.
This switch happened for the first time last year, when a reported 32 percent of women completed 4+ years of college compared to 31.9 percent of men. Experts speculate that this could be an harbinger of a closing wage gap in the years to come.
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This educational shift has incited change in the workplace as well. Women in the “silent generation,” now aged 69 to 86 years old, were mostly confined to the home, with 59 percent not in the workforce when they were young. This is in stark contrast to their millennial cohort, who boast 63 percent employment.
Although the rate of working men is still 5 percent higher than women, Bloomberg points out that “the share of the women in the workforce has jumped 28 percent since the silent generation. For men, it has fallen 10 percent.”
This statistical shift, both in the workplace and the classroom, comes at a time when the roles of men and women are becoming increasingly questioned and integrated. Gone are the days of the 1950’s nuclear family in which the man is the sole breadwinner and the woman is the homemaker. Today, the role of women in the workplace and the advent of the “stay at home dad” are becoming more culturally accepted. Challenging stereotypical gender roles is gaining traction on a national scale, as we as a country attempt to redefine what it means to be a successful man or woman.
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