New research by the American Association of University Women reveals that the pay gap between women and men begins at the beginning. Women are already earning 20 percent less than men in the same field and at the same level just one year after college graduation. And the percentages only get worse as the years go by.

Amy Joyce at The Washington Post writes about the study and AAUW’s conclusion that straight-up discrimination is a major cause of the pay discrepancy.

"Ten years after graduation, women fall further behind, earning 69 percent of what men earn. A 12 percent gap appeared even when the AAUW Educational Foundation, which did the research, controlled for hours, occupation, parenthood and other factors known to directly affect earnings," writes Joyce.

The story looks at how women need to work on closing the gap by sharpening their negotiating skills and stand up for themselves — a point also emphasized by Shellye Archambeau, who has a guest blog entry up at the WaPo’s On Balance blog. Archambeu is currently CEO of MetricStream, and her guest blog was adapted from her Striking the Balance panel remarks at the Wharton Economic Summit in Philadelphia last month.

Hannah Seligson of Women’s eNews focuses on how the colleges might not be preparing women for the inequitable realities of the workplace. Specifically, some academics believe that women’s studies departments have not prioritized pay equity as a critical feminist issue.

One of the best places to go for straight talk on women and the workplace is Ellen Bravo’s "Taking on the Big Boys: Or Why Feminism Is Good for Families, Business and the Nation."

Bravo talked last week with PBS senior correspondent Maria Hinojosa about why women make less money than men in the United States and what to do about it. The PBS website includes book excerpts and additional resources. From the very first chapter, Bravo focuses on the "Big Boys" — and the structure that systematically discriminates against women in the corporate world.


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