The New Gender Gap


Women in their 20s are now earning more than men in New York, Dallas, and several other major cities, according to a new analysis of 2005 Census Bureau survey data:

Women of all educational levels from 21 to 30 living in New York City and working full time made 117 percent of men's wages, and even more in Dallas, 120 percent….Women in their 20s also make more than men in Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis and a few other big cities….

In jobs that were once defined as male preserves—including police officer and private investigator—where gender barriers are crumbling, young men and women in New York had the same median wages: a little more than $40,000. And women in their 20s now make more than men in a wide variety of other jobs: as doctors, personnel managers, architects, economists, lawyers, stock clerks, customer service representatives, editors and reporters.  

Possible reasons mentioned in the New York Times article include women's overrepresentation among college graduates and a tendency to get serious about their careers sooner than men, who are less worried about getting too old to have children. Feminists have long cited men's tendency to earn more than women (a pattern that persists in other age groups and other parts of the country) as prima facie evidence of sex discrimination. But when women start earning more than men, the explanations hinge on the different choices that men and women make. If the wage gap appearing in these cities spreads to the rest of the country, will men start complaining that they earn 86 cents for every dollar that women do, simply because they have the wrong genitalia?

I, for one, am thankful for the gender-associated wage gap in my household, which is even bigger than the overall disparity in Dallas.