Student Debt Weighs Down Women More

Career College Central summary:

  • Women have made gains in the workplace but there's still a wage gap. Although attending college costs the same for both genders, women are more burdened by student loan debt after graduating. They spend a higher proportion of their salaries on paying off debt because, well, they have lower salaries to work with than men — from the very start.
  • A study by the found that one year after college, nearly half of women working full time, and 39 percent of men, were devoting more than 8 percent of their income toward their debt. That may seem small, but when you are fresh out of college, the combination of living expenses, credit card bills or debt, a 401(k) and a little left over for savings — if you can hack it — adds up. It does so more quickly for women. College-educated women made 82 percent of men's salaries one year after graduating in 2009, according to the AAUW study.
  • Women make less than men — even upon first entering the workforce — for a number of reasons. They're . They . Or they . They also tend to choose fields that pay less, such as social sciences and teaching, instead of engineering and computer science. But after the AAUW controlled for factors such as college major, occupation and average hours worked, the wage gap was still there.
  • The good news is that with each successive generation, that wage gap gets a little bit smaller. Today's young women are the first in modern history to start their work lives at near-equal pay with men, according to a recent . Thirty years ago, median hourly wages for women were 77 percent of men's; now they're around 93 percent. That's progres. Here's the bad news. The Pew study suggests that this smaller gap can't quite hold. That as today's young working women grow into their careers, this near-parity will slip.

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