The bad news: women still only make 81 cents for every dollar a man earns, and the higher a woman's education level, the bigger the gap between a woman's pay and her male counterpart's pay. The good news: some college majors set female graduates with bachelor's degrees on a path that actually puts them on course to earn almost exactly what their male counterparts earn. Almost-hooray!
According to the Times' Catherine Rampell, it looks like a woman's choice of college major may determine her future income equality. Rampell analyzed information provided by salary data-collecting company PayScale and found that a surprising number of majors actually eliminate much of the discrepancy between male and female pay. Women who majored in Mechanical Engineering or Management Information Systems, for example, earn identical salaries to their male counterparts, even when controlled for demographic differences. Women who studied Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Communications, English, Sociology, Graphic Design, or Psychology earn only 1% less than men doing the same job. And women who studied Information Technology in undergrad and didn't go to grad school actually outearn similarly educated men by 1%.
As always, take this data with a grain of salt. Pay equality decreases as level of education increases, and so the harder a woman works on her education, the less she'll be paid relative to men who have had to jump through the same hoops she has. More women are enrolled in postgraduate school than ever before, and a bachelor's degree is hardly a ticket out of the ever-more-put-upon middle class.
Even though we have a way to go, this is good news worth celebrating. I plan on doing so by going Dutch -1% the next time I'm out on a date.