A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that millennial women, who are between 18 and 32 years old, recognize that while women have made gains in the workforce in recent decades, many of the roadblocks that have limited the careers of previous generations of women will cause them problems, too. Women who have entered the workforce in the past decade start off more equal to men in terms of pay than any previous generation and they are more educated than both earlier generations of women and men of the same age group. But they believe that, like earlier generations, they will fall further behind men in terms of pay equity once they have children.
Young female workers (those between 25 and 34) earn 93% of what men earn, compared with the overall workforce in which women earn only 84% of what men make (when wages are controlled for hours worked). Millennial women were more likely than millennial men to have a college degree (38% compared with 31%), so the difference in pay isn’t based on education. Pew Research cites experts who suggest that gender stereotypes, discrimination, professional networks that are more robust for men than for women and hesitancy on the part of women to aggressively negotiate for raises and promotions account for 20% to 40% of the wage gap.
The wage gap between men and women has decreased in recent decades—in 1980, women made only 64% of what men made. Part of the shrinking disparity is an increase in women’s wages, which have risen 25% in the past 30 years. But more recently part of it is because of decreasing wages for men, who have seen their pay decline 4% since 1980.
Other findings of the survey:
- 75% say the country needs to make changes to achieve gender equality in the workplace (compared with 57% of men).
- 63% say having children will make it harder for them to advance in their career.
- 15% say they’ve been discriminated against because of their gender.
- 34% say they are not interested in becoming a manager (24% of men).
- 51% say society favors men over women; only 6% say society favors women over men.
- 42% say they have asked for a raise in their working life (48% of men).