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Millennial Women Narrow the Pay Gap–Sort Of

Why their gains don’t last over time.

At the starting line of their careers, millennial women have the narrowest gender wage gap in 30 years. That would be something to celebrate—if it weren’t for the major roadblocks they face.

But first, the kudos: In 2012, women ages 25-to-34 made 93 cents for every dollar earned by a man, compared to 84 cents for all working women. Chalk that up to great training. Millennial women are better educated than their mothers and grandmothers, as well as millennial males, reports Pew Research—38 percent of women ages 25-to-32 have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 31 percent of men. Women’s employment in highly skilled jobs is also on the rise: Some 49 percent of college-educated workers were women in 2012, compared to 36 percent in 1980.

So why aren’t we cheering louder? Despite their nearly equal starting point, millennial women believe many of their gains will be erased over time, especially if they decide to have children: 63 percent think having kids will make it harder for them to advance in their careers. And over 70 percent of college-educated women also say it’s easier for men to get top executive jobs (they’re right—women hold just 4.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions, according to Catalyst). Luckily the majority of millennials have their heads on straight: 75 percent of women and 57 percent of men say the country needs to keep making changes to achieve gender equality in the workplace. Looks like the Me generation is growing up just fine. 

Tags: Business   Wage Gap   Work