New Report Says Women Will Soon Be Majority Of College-Educated U.S. Workers (2019)
by Dani Matias
June 20, 2019
Women are on track to make up a majority of the college-educated labor force this year, marking a historic turning point in gender parity.
While women have made up a majority of college-educated adults for roughly four decades, that strength has not always been reflected in the work force, where men have traditionally dominated. Men still outnumber women as a percentage of U.S. workers, but the gap has narrowed significantly in recent years.
This year’s first-quarter findings reported 29.5 million women in the labor force had at minimum a bachelor’s degree, compared to 29.3 million men, according to an analysis by Pew Research of data collected from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Women, ages 25 and older, now account for more than half of the college-educated workforce (50.2%) — an 11% increase since 2000.
The 1981-82 academic school year was the first time that women received more bachelor’s degrees than men.
Since then, women have consistently outpaced men in earning that same level of education, receiving 57% of the bachelor’s degrees awarded by U.S. institutions in the 2016-2017 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Since 2000, the college enrollment rate for female students has outnumbered males.
Although women’s representation among the college-educated workforce is expanding, they are still earning less than men. On average, a man with a bachelor’s degree out-earns an equally credentialed woman by about $26,000 per year.