BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Gen Y Women: Is Your Workplace Gender Equitable?

Posted by knbarrett on May 17, 2011

“They offered you what???” The voices in my head competed for the tone with which to deliver my question.  As my then fiancé excitedly shared the details of the compensation package he had just been offered, I could barely muster a “that’s great.” I should have been jumping up and down, right? That money would soon be flowing into our joint bank account. Instead, I was furious.

You see, my fiancé and I graduated from the same school with the same major. After graduation, we entered the same industry and were hired for same type of position.  There was one big difference . . . our starting salaries. I was offered 29 percent less than him.  Unfortunately, my experience is not so different from other Gen Y women. A recent study found that the average starting salary of a new female college graduate is 17 percent lower that her male counterpart.

Pay inequity is just one form of gender discrimination. Research on gender in the workplace consistently indicates that gender is an accurate predictor of occupation, pay and career progress. Further, men and women are often treated differently at work even when formal employment barriers are removed.

As a Gen Y woman, I want to believe that gender discrimination is on the decline. However, my workplace expectations often do not match my workplace experiences. When this happens, I struggle with feeling “whiny” for pointing out gender bias. After all, my experience is so much better than that of my mother or grandmother at my age. The bias may be different but it’s no less real. Just because the workplace is getting better, it doesn’t mean that the workplace is gender neutral much less equitable. I’ve learned that one of the most important steps in addressing gender inequities is indentifying them and understanding their underlying factors.

How about you, how has gender affected your workplace experiences and opportunities? If you are a Gen Y woman (born 1978-1994), BPW Foundation wants to better understand your perspectives on gender in the workplace.

  • How important is gender equity in the workplace to you?
  • To what extent is gender discrimination a problem in today’s workplace?
  • Based on your experience and observations, what are the most prevalent forms of discrimination facing women in the workplace?
  • What can employers do to promote a more gender equitable workplace?

Please share your thoughts and experiences by taking our online survey. The survey will remain open until Tuesday, May 31st at midnight. Don’t miss the chance to let your voice be heard!


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