College-educated women are working more than similarly educated men in the US for the first time ever.
A recently released Pew Research Center analysis finds that 29.5 million working women held at least a bachelor’s degree in the first quarter of 2019, compared to 29.3 million men.
The number of women who graduate college has long been higher than the number of men, yet women have long had less workforce participation overall. Women makeup still make up less than half, or 46.7%, of the overall workforce, Pew finds.
The recent data has implications for the gender pay gap. Workers with bachelor’s degrees earn around $20,000 more than those with less education. White men still earn $9,909 more annually than women — and even more compared to black and Latina women— but Pew predicts the growing number of college-educated women in the workforce could result in higher overall wages for women in the future.
The increase in working college-educated women could be linked to parents waiting to have kids. Women having babies in their 30s now outnumber the amount giving birth in their 20s, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Other data indicates that millennial women simply cannot afford children, due to the ongoing fallout of the recession, increasing student-debt, and high cost of living.
On top of financial strain, working women also must tackle a gender divide at home: even when women manage to both work and have children, they still do the bulk of housework compared to men. Mothers spend 16 more hours a week on paid work than they did 50 years ago, yet 4 more hours a week on childcare.