WASHINGTON - Young American women are increasingly likely to receive pay nearly equal to their male counterparts, with earnings at 93 percent of men, a new study finds. Still, those women remain as pessimistic as their mothers and grandmothers regarding gender equality.
A report for release Wednesday by the Pew Research Center paints a mixed picture.
While women under 32 now have higher rates of college completion than men that age, the analysis of census and labor data shows their hourly earnings will slip further behind by the women's mid-30s, if the experience of the last three decades is a guide.
That widening gap is due in part to the many women who take time off, or reduce their hours, to start families. Other factors cited in the report are gender stereotyping, discrimination, weaker professional networks, and women's hesitancy to aggressively push for raises and promotions.
In all, 75 percent of women ages 18-32 say the United States needs to do more to bring about equality in the workplace, a percentage similar to baby-boomer women ages 49-67 and higher than other age groups. About 57 percent of young men answered that way.
Even so, just 15 percent of young women say they have been discriminated against because of their gender.
"Today's generation of young women . . . feel empowered in many ways," said Kim Parker, of the Pew Social & Demographic Trends Project, "yet when they look at the workplace, they see it as a 'man's world' with the deck stacked against them."
Women are increasingly moving into higher career positions both in government and business. They make up nearly half the workforce, and the share of women in managerial and administrative occupations is nearly equal to that of men - 15 percent compared to 17 percent.
"More doors are now open to women," said Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University, "but they can now see how far they are from equality in high-level jobs."
The Pew study was based on interviews with 2,002 adults by cellphone or landline from Oct. 7 to 27. The Pew poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
"This report shows that we are still very much in a 'stalled revolution' when it comes to gender equality in the workplace - and young women see it," said Pamela Smock, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan. "When we see our male CEOs taking off a day to care for a sick child, then we will be working in a more gender-equal workplace - and a more gender-equal world."