The millennial generation is known for its diversity, its liberal ideals and its support for same-sex marriage. And yet gender inequality still persists among millennials in the job market.
Last Wednesday, Cosmopolitan.com released the results of a survey in an article called, “5 Things Millennials Should Know About the Job Market,” where they briefly touched base on statistics of millennials’ jobs after graduation. Although they mentioned the gender gap, Cosmopolitan’s reference doesn’t do it justice. The article only states how many men and women have jobs lined up before and after graduating, and the percentage of men and women who work on a salary or hourly compared to their first jobs.
In fact, although a Dec. 2013 Pew Research study reports the gender gap is closing among millennials compared to the national average, with millennial women earning 93 percent of what millennial men earn compared to the average 77 percent, some may think a low seven percent gap is something to be proud of. Despite the fact that this gap has decreased over the last 10 years, the mere seven percent is still not something to dismiss due to its small quantity.
With this said, although women are directly impacted by unequal pay, it’s not just women’s issue ––it’s a millennial’s issue.
Our prospects for the future may all be different. Whether some of us plan on getting a job right after college, pursuing a post-graduate education, or even taking some time off and traveling the world, I think it’s safe to say that most of us would like to apply what we learned in college to good use and get fairly paid for our work.
But one of the crucial questions a lot of millennials don’t really consider is when we actually do apply these skills with whatever job we choose to pursue, will we be paid the same amount as our colleagues? And that answer, at least for most women, is no.
As college students, some us us will graduate with a lot of student debt on our hands. Men and women pay the same tuition, and yet women fall short when it comes to paying off their student debt, according to an Apr. 7 Forbes article. The article also explains that the older people get, the larger the gender gap increases. Therefore, it may only get worse. This can directly impact how millennial women pay off their student loans, and more broadly across generations, this influences how much money can go into retirement savings as well. Of course, other factors like the willingness to put money aside can impact how much people end up saving.
Millennials can respond by reaching out to policy makers and companies and demanding them to address these salary differences, since a lot of the time unequal gender treatment may not necessarily be intentional.
With all the negative stereotypes millennials are associated with — ranging from lazy and impatient to disrespectful and conceited — we’re actually the generation where women and men are the closest to be paid equally. Seven percent is lower than the average, but we still have a long way to go. Millennials should make it their goal to diminish the gender gap so when the next generation is surveyed, the gap no longer exists.