Young women in big cities are narrowing the pay gap. (Credit: Piquels)
Young women in big cities are narrowing the pay gap. (Credit: Piqsels)

The tables are turning – at least for Gen Z and millennial women. 

A new report from Pew Research Center says that young women are outearning men in at least 16 cities. And while New York and Los Angeles make the list, there are some surprising locales where the disparities are lessening.

An analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data for 250 metropolitan areas across the country shows full-time, year-round female workers between the ages of 16 and 29 earning at least as much as men in 22 cities. In New York, young women earn 102% more than men on average, but less conventional metropolises rank even higher: In Wenatchee, Washington, and Morgantown, West Virginia, for example, women outearn men by 120% and 114%, respectively.

Richard Fry, the report’s author and a senior researcher specializing in demographics and social trends at Pew, said the trend is encouraging, but not entirely unprecedented as the pay gap tends to be narrowest early in womens’ careers. 

“Then it sort of widens as they age,” Fry said, according to Business Insider, as women increasingly take on “family responsibilities.” That is, they pay a motherhood penalty, a term describing the disproportionate problems women face in the workplace after having a child. 

The news comes in the wake of Equal Pay Day, which happened on March 15 and represents the number of additional days women had to work to match what men made in 2021 on average. The gap is widest in the Midwest and among workers of color, with Black women making only 64% of white men’s earnings, Business Insider reports.

But there’s also a lot to be hopeful about. Gen Z genuinely seems to be changing the narrative, as they inch closer to, and often surpass, men in both college enrollment and graduation rates. According to Pew, unmarried adults made up almost 40% of those between age 25 and 34.

“Given the differences in their current labor market position, as well as their education levels relative to men, it may be indeed a different story for this group of young women,” Fry added.