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Younger women in America are nearing long-sought parity with men when it comes to pay in the workplace, but they still believe more needs to be done to reach that goal, and how parenthood will change their earning power remains an open question.
Those are the findings of a new Pew survey out Wednesday focusing on so-called millennial women, those born after 1980. Three-quarters of those women believe the U.S. needs to do more to achieve gender equality in the workplace, even Pew’s research shows them to be the first generation in American history to “start their work lives at near parity with men.”
Despite the gains that young women have made — both in educational attainment and labor force participation — compared to past generations, millennial women believe, as their mothers and grandmothers do, that “this is a man’s world,” according to the survey.
Based on analysis of census data, Pew found that in 2012, among workers aged between 25-34, women’s hourly wages were 93 percent those of men. For workers aged 16 and over, women’s hourly wages as a percentage of men’s was lower — only 84 percent. The report attributes the success of millennial women in achieving near-equal pay to their education gains; it found that millennial women were more likely than their male counterparts to hold a bachelor’s degree.
However, the survey showed that recently, groups of young women “have fallen further behind their same-aged male counterparts” as family responsibilities take a toll on their careers.