Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's a man's woman's world

Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal reported that young women in America's urban centers are earning more than their male counterparts:
In 2008, single, childless women between ages 22 and 30 were earning more than their male counterparts in most U.S. cities, with incomes that were 8% greater on average, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data released Wednesday by Reach Advisors, a consumer-research firm in Slingerlands, N.Y.

The trend was first identified several years ago in the country's biggest cities, but has broadened out to smaller locales and across more industries. Beyond major cities such as San Francisco and New York, the income imbalance is pronounced in blue-collar hubs and the fast-growing metro areas that have large immigrant populations.

The greatest disparity is in Atlanta, where young, childless women were paid 121% the level of their male counterparts, according to Reach Advisors.

These women have gotten a leg up for several reasons. They are more likely than men to attend college, raising their earning potential.

Between 2006 and 2008, 32.7% of women between 25 and 34 had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 25.8% of men, according to the Census.

And men have been disproportionately hit by heavy job losses in blue-collar industries.
This trend continues beyond the age of thirty, after which traditional roles of wifehood and motherhood, along with other social factors, start to take huge bites out of earnings:
While these particular women earn more than their male peers, women on the whole haven't reached equal status in any particular job or education level. For instance, women with a bachelor's degree had median earnings of $39,571 between 2006 and 2008, compared with $59,079 for men at the same education level, according to the Census.
And I'm guessing it will be quite some time before young women in South Korea (or neighboring Japan) enjoy similar gains.

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