Masters Thesis

Women in higher education and the gender wage gap

The gender wage gap has managed to maintain a significant and persistent presence throughout history. When considering the significant strides women have made in terms of social and economic status, and the importance of gender equality, there has been reasonable interest in researching and addressing this issue for both researchers and policymakers, respectively. Women have been increasingly participating in the higher education sector, exceeding men in areas including degree attainment. Despite this phenomenon, a gender inequality in pay continues to exist. The gender wage gap has hovered in the seventy percentage range for the past ten years, and has yet the break the eighty percentage mark (United States Census Bureau, 2015). Utilizing a trend, comparison analysis of existing data on male-female education attainment, this study attempted to answer the following research question:  Does female higher education attainment significantly contribute to decreasing the gender wage gap? The results indicated that female higher education attainment does not significantly contribute to decreasing the gender wage gap. The results also indicated that higher education is beneficial for women in terms of earning higher incomes. This study was of significance because pay inequalities have the potential to threaten women and their livelihood, especially considering women having been a historically marginalized group in society. It is also important to determine the outcomes of the investment time and money women make when attaining a higher education. This study contributes to the understanding of the gender wage gap; and it also contributes to the understanding of how female higher education attainment relates to the gender wage gap and what impact it may potentially have for women.

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