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Study shows women only make 82 percent what men make right out of college

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The gender gap isn’t closed when it comes to equal pay: a new study of recent graduates shows a demonstrable difference in wages between women and men who are just entering the workforce. The study by the American Association of University Women meant to capture men and women at their most equivalent stages in life, and showed that young college-educated women earn only 82% of what their male peers are making.

The results of the study are indicative of a larger trend in pay disparity: in every state, women, college educated or not, make only about 55- to 80-percent as much money as men, despite attending and graduating college in higher numbers and earning better grades. As election day approaches, President Obama and Mitt Romney are both vying for the women’s vote.

The first bill that President Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Equal Pay Act, and the President has been consistently in the lead with female voters. In the second debate, he cited the rising number of female breadwinners and argued that pay equality is an economic issue and a family issue, not just a women’s issue.

Although Romney has made efforts and strides towards catching up, touting his hiring processes as Governor of Massachusetts, he still trails in polls of female voters. How can America close the wage gap? Will this issue play an important role in the election? How might truly equal pay change the nation?


Lisa M. Maatz,director of public policy and government relations, American Association of University Women

Andrew Biggs, Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute