Wednesday, May 04, 2011

American women are giving it the old college try

In the United States, there are now more women attaining college degrees than men.

According to figures from the Associated Press, American women hold 10.6 million Masters Degrees to the mens' 10.5 million. For Bachelors Degrees, it stands at women: 20.1 million versus men: 18.7 million.

With that in mind, the hysteric questions always seem to immediately get thrown out there, asking why women make less than men if women are going to college more, receiving, on average, 77 cents for every one dollar earned by a man.

The important piece of the puzzle that the article does not address however is what those degrees are in. Reason Magazine has a wonderfully succinct article that fills in the holes and explains why men earn more average pay than women.

For instance:
But read more, and you learn things that don't get much notice on Equal Pay Day. As the report acknowledges, women with college degrees tend to go into fields like education, psychology and the humanities, which typically pay less than the sectors preferred by men, such as engineering, math and business. They are also more likely than men to work for nonprofit groups and local governments, which do not offer salaries that Alex Rodriguez would envy.

As they get older, many women elect to work less so they can spend time with their children. A decade after graduation, 39 percent of women are out of the work force or working part time -- compared with only 3 percent of men. When these mothers return to full-time jobs, they naturally earn less than they would have if they had never left.
My wife is a prime example of this. She is an elementary school teacher, and has been employed in that capacity since 1995. However, she does not get paid for that many years of teaching because she took a few years off to stay home with our children during their infant and toddler years. I, on the other hand, haven't taught as many years as she, but I continue to accrue seniority at an unbroken pace because I never took any years off after our kids were born.

In the meantime, the males of this country need to get their act together and start going to college again.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

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