With graduation rapidly approaching, many students may be wondering what their next move will be after they pack away their cap and gown. Family members may be asking about plans after college and future goals students have set for themselves. For some, the answer is completely solidified. For others, the answer to the daunting question is a long way away. No matter your situation, the ongoing, steadily growing wage gap must be kept in mind.

In their first four years out of college, female graduates make $17.88 and hour on average, while their male peers make $20.87, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank. Another way to think of this is women are making 86 percent of what men earn. Although that number is greater than it was in 2015 when it was 83 percent, that gap is still too large.

Although women represent the majority of college graduates, some of the highest-paying jobs in the U.S. are held by men.

“At the very top of the job market, pay is getting really high, and it’s men, primarily, who are getting those jobs,” senior economist at EPI Elise Gould told the Huffington Post.

Typically, women end up taking lower-paying jobs in possibly lower-paying fields, according to the Huffington Post. This is sometimes linked to societal or family pressures when determining which major to pursue. Some women and men naturally gravitate toward different majors, which can lead to differences in salary.

Glassdoor, a fast-growing recruiting website, conducted a study that suggests males care more about the monetary outcomes more than females do. It’s easy for someone to say it’s the person’s own fault for choosing low-paying professions, but just because a woman doesn’t care about money as much, doesn’t mean she should be paid less.

It seems that only recently people have been trying to raise girls and boys the same way. Some parents disregard traditional pink or blue gender colors, let their children choose what dolls to play with or how they want to dress. Boy and girls need to learn from an early age that they are equal and deserve the same respect and pay.

“One surprising finding is that even within the same college major, men and women tend to sort into different jobs — which pay differently — after college,” according to the Glassdoor study. “For example, among women who major in biology, the most common three jobs after college are lab technician, pharmacy technician, and sales associate. By contrast, the three most common jobs for male biology majors are lab technician, data analyst, and manager.”

Women need to push themselves to get those higher-paying jobs because they equally deserve the opportunity men do. Be passionate about your major and strive to be better than the rest.

Email Laura Schmidt at opinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

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