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WOMEN AND THE PAY GAP

Forget about whether men or women do more housework--the bigger issue is why men continue to get paid more than women for the same jobs, some 40 years after women started entering the work force in large numbers. A study released this week by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation found that a dramatic pay gap emerges between women and men in the U.S. the year after they graduate from college, and widens over the ensuing decade.

One year out of college, women working full time earn 80% percent of what men earn. Ten years later, women earn 69% percent as much as men. The researchers acknowledge that some of this can be attributed to number of hours worked, occupations and parenthood, but gender is definitely a factor. They estimate that 5% of the pay gap is attributable to gender one year after graduation and 12% 10 years after graduation. (The study, using data from the Department of Education, analyzed some 9,000 college graduates from 1992-93 and more than 10,000 from 1999-2000.)