U.S. Women Near Milestone in the College-Educated Labor Force
Posted August 13, 2019
Women are approaching a milestone in gender parity. 2019 will likely be the first year in which they are a majority of the college-educated labor force. As of the first quarter of 2019, 29.5 million women in the labor force had at least a bachelor’s degree, effectively matching the number of college-educated men in the workforce (29.3 million), according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This milestone matters for women because educational attainment is highly correlated with income. Women now comprise 50.2% of the college-educated labor force, up from 45.1% in 2000. They remain less than half(46.7%) of the overall workforce ages 25 and older.
While women have only recently reached parity with men in the college-educated workforce, they have been a majority of college-educated adults for more than a decade. Women first received more than half of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in the 1981-82 academic year; today they earn about 57% of bachelor’s degrees. The number of college-educated women in the adult population (ages 25 and older) surpassed the number of college-educated men in 2007.