Although women are making gains to get access to equal wages as their male counterparts, the lag — in both salaries and benefits — are more negatively impacting young female professionals who are trying to pay off their student loans.
According to a study conducted by the American Association of University Women, student debt is worse for women, weighing them down with more financial burden and preventing them from taking advantage of other opportunities.
The study determined that one year after college, almost 50 percent of the women working full-time, compared to just 39 percent of men, were dedicating over 8 percent of all earnings toward their debt.
More women allocate a higher proportion of their salaries towards debt repayments, which amounts to a real burden when you consider the already-hefty costs of other expenses like rent, credit card bills and the attempts at starting a 401(k).
The reason behind all this disparity? Because in 2010, college-educated women who graduated in 2009 made only 82 percent of men's salaries in the same year.
AAUW even tried to control for various factors that might lead to these women's lower incomes, but when the study separately factored things like college major, occupation and average hours worked, the result was the same: Women are paid less than men; the wage gap is real.
"For many young women, the challenge of paying back student loans is their first encounter with the pay gap."