Faced With Unequal Pay, Some Women Opt Out
By Bryce Covert, Next New Deal Editor
Feminists have long debated the veracity of the “opt-out revolution” meme, but a forthcoming study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (described by Reuters) does in fact find college-educated women whose spouses are similarly educated dropping out of the workforce. The study shows a drop in these women’s workforce participation of .1 percent a year between 1993 and 2006, in contrast to growth in their ranks of 2.4 percent between 1976 and 1992.
This trend seems to be heavily influenced by the pay gap. In 1975, the pay for men and women who graduated from college was about even: they both made 43 percent more than non–college graduates. But by 2008 male grads were making 92 percent more, while women were making 70 percent more, a gap of 22 percentage points between them. In fact, as Amanda Hess recently pointed out, at every level of education beyond high school, women experience a shortfall in comparison to their male peers. Overall, men with post–high school education make over $800 more per month than women with the same level of education. The gap only gets worse the more education they take on: for example, men with a bachelor’s degree in business make $1,000 more each month, and men with advanced degrees in business make $1,400.