On its face, the evidence in the AAUW study looks damning. "One year out of college," it says, "women working full-time earn only 80 percent as much as their male colleagues earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall farther behind, earning only 69 percent as much as men earn."
But read more, and you learn things that don't get much notice on Equal Pay Day. As the report acknowledges, women with college degrees tend to go into fields like education, psychology and the humanities, which typically pay less than the sectors preferred by men, such as engineering, math and business. They are also more likely than men to work for nonprofit groups and local governments, which do not offer salaries that Alex Rodriguez would envy.
I've never read the actual studies, but I always assumed that when they said "colleagues" they were referring to people who worked in the same field and did the same kind of work. Of COURSE women who go into education are going to make less than men who go into investment banking.
The issue is -- do women bankers make the same as men bankers if they're doing the same job and working similar hours? Or does a glass ceiling really exist?
This report seems to have muddled the issue.