Why hasn’t the “degree gap” closed the “salary gap”?

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Prof. Mark Perry prepared this graph:

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If I’m reading it correctly, women and men got the same number of college degrees in 1982. By 1983, women started obtaining more college degrees then men, and this trend has continued on into the present, so this is a trend that has been observable for 27 years. In addition to outnumbering them, women college students also outperform the men.

You’d think with more degrees and better grades, women would be earning substantially more than men. But in fact the opposite is true. According to this site, “The ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly earnings for full-time workers was 79.9 in 2008, the third consecutive decline since the historical high of 81.0 in 2005.” So let me offer an explanation for why women enroll in colleges in higher numbers and earn higher grades once we are there: We have to. If we didn’t, the salary gap would grow even larger.

–Ann Bartow

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