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Gender wage gap narrows in some regions

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Posted at 11:03 AM, Apr 28, 2022

The gender wage gap has been a hot topic over the past few years.  Men have traditionally made more money than women. 

Nationally, the gender wage gap is narrower among younger workers, and the gap varies across geographical areas. According to a new Pew Research Center analysis, in 22 of 250 United States metropolitan areas, women under the age of 30 earn the same amount as or more than their male counterparts.

Jade Gibson runs a collective of musicians who perform at weddings and events. She is a 24-year-old, female entrepreneur in a country where four of every five entrepreneurs are men. She’s doing it in Naples, Florida, where the wage gap between women and men, at least at one level, has been upended. 

“I would say more women have hired me than men for huge corporate events, huge nonprofit events,” Gibson says. “Naples is the place to be for a female entrepreneur.” 

A new study revealed Naples is one of the 22 metro areas where women under 30 make as much or more on average than men. It’s the same in New York and San Diego, D.C. and Los Angeles.

Smaller regions in central Pennsylvania and coastal Florida are in that group.

Victor Claar teaches economics at Florida gulf coast university, where Gibson graduated from the school of entrepreneurship. 

“Since the early 1990s, female enrollment rates at four-year institutions like mine, they’ve been higher than they have been for males,” Claar said. “it's not a surprise that females are moving to places like Naples, where there are opportunities for somebody who already has a four-year degree.” 

Naples is known for technology and medical companies. Richmond, Virginia is known for banking, law, and advertising. 

Richmond is where Shirley Crawford has spent years running an initiative for women in business. 

“We’re not hiding in the corner. We’re sharing good, bad, and indifferent,” Crawford said. “We're actually drawing together to help each other, to lift each other up. And we don't forget about the ones who came before us are the ones who are coming after us.” 

More women in the workforce have brought more women into management. Greater access to information has made once-private details, like salaries, public. Transparency has grown even as institutions remain stunted. 

While women are making progress, there is more work to be done. Women’s participation in the labor force has flattened at around 47 percent. The pew research group projects it’ll stay there. The gender wage gap among all adults hasn’t changed much since the early 90s, and improvements for those under 30 don’t erase the hurdles for those beyond it.