This year, for the first time in history, college-educated women outnumbered college-educated men as the majority in the workplace.
For some, this isn’t a surprise; women have been earning the majority of bachelor’s degrees and other, more advanced degrees since the 1980s. In fact, as of last year, 57.5 percent of people who earned a bachelor’s degree were women. This is surprising considering the fact that women have been 36 percent less likely to enter the workforce after graduation in past years.
Despite their growth in the workforce, women still face many struggles in the workplace. Women make less money than men on average, despite some arguments that women choose lower paying jobs like teaching or nursing, they take more time off to take care of their children, or they don’t negotiate well for better pay. All excuses aside, even when completing the same job, women make way less than men.
According to the most recent reports, white women must work 16 months to earn what their white male colleagues earned in 12 months. Women of color must work even longer to match their colleagues. Overall, men make $26,000 more than women on a yearly basis for completing the same work.
On top of the general pay gap, women are severely underrepresented in fields where they could earn more money, like STEM. In these jobs, women make up around 25 percent of graduates and less than 30 percent of college-educated employees as a whole. This problem is most severe in computer science, where it is predicted the gender gap will continue for another 100 years if the same trends continue.
Now that we’ve established that women are paid less and have fewer opportunities in high paying fields, we should also mention that they’re often left out of leadership positions. As of May 2019, women were running the highest-grossing companies in America, yet they still only make up less than seven percent of all C.E.O.s.
Even though women are slowly pushing through to gain equal footing in the workforce, more can be done. It is suggested that the general pay gap will not close until 2059 unless something changes. This is where women can make a difference.
Professionals suggest that women find a champion in their workplace, even if it’s a man. Katherine W. Phillips, a professor of organizational management at Columbia University, is a supporter of this plan. “You need to get your circle of support around you, and in finding people to support you, sometimes you need to take a risk. I guarantee you that in a big workplace, there is a man who can support you. You have to find him. You have to make those connections and build those relationships, as hard as it might be,” she said.