Study: Women Earn Less Than Men As Early As Their First Paycheck

I earned $15,500 annually at my very first job out of college. I was a newspaper reporter covering municipal and education initiatives for two suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. The pay was terrible, but the work was interesting. (And I met my husband on the job, which was better than any financial bonus!) Chris, who worked the very same beat at the same newspaper group, earned $20,000 as his starting salary.

I can't explain the pay discrepancy beyond the gender gap. We were both newly graduated from good universities in Ohio. We both had similar backgrounds in terms of reporting and writing experience. Yet his paycheck was bigger than mine.

This was back in the late '90s, so I was astonished to learn that things have barely changed more than a decade later. According to a recent report, new analysis of government data finds that, on average, male college graduates are earning more than their female classmates just one year after graduation.

The study was done by the American Association of University Women, and results showed that women graduates working full-time were earning, on average, 82 cents for every dollar their male peers were earning. The average salary for women was $35,296, compared with $42,918 for men.

Today I work in women's lifestyle publishing, which is (not surprisingly) dominated by women. So gender discrimination at the workplace is not an issue that I deal with on a day to day basis. But it is something that affects many of my friends, particularly those who are working in the legal, financial, and medical industries.

Do you earn less than your male counterparts at work? If, so do you think the pay discrepancy is fair?

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