Mar 112011

Women, this week my column is about you. If you didn’t know, Tuesday marked International Women’s Day. As a woman, I thought it would be interesting to find out the statistics for women in what we are going to face when we get out of college.
I’m not going to be sexist in this column and play “the poor woman” card. I’m a firm believer in equality, and hope that the women reading this will feel empowered, rather than stay with the status quo.

At CSU, roughly 52 percent of students awarded undergraduate degrees are women, according to 2007 statistics, proving that women are doing more today to become educated than in the past.

Now, it would seem that as more women become educated, they will find better jobs that pay more. Don’t be so fast to make that assumption, however.

“For full-time, year-round workers, median earnings for women were 78.2 percent of men’s median earnings, or $35,549 compared with $45,485. In 2008, the ratio of women’s to men’s median earnings was 77.2 percent,” according to USA Today in September of 2010.

There are many reasons for this gender gap, which surprisingly has made little progress in the last 30 years. Some blame it on the fact that women tend to take lower paying jobs such as nursing or teaching.

If you look at many high powered companies, the people who are in charge are men.

However, I think that as time progresses and today’s women become more experienced after college, this will change.

This is something that we, as women, can look forward to. As older, more “traditional” adults reach retirement, younger adults who are more open to change will take over leadership positions. As a woman, you need to be part of this change.

There are some occupations where a specific gender will still dominant, but many manager and executive type positions will become more of an option for women.

This is my caution, however. If you are planning on having children, having this type of position could make this goal very hard. Men are lucky in the fact that when they have children, they don’t become a waddling whale for several months.

Although I’ve never been pregnant, I think that being in a high-stress job while 8 months pregnant could be very challenging for even the toughest women.

The statistics show though that more women are putting off marriage and children bearing for their careers. In terms of marriage, “the median age is now the oldest since the U.S. Census started keeping track in the 1890s: almost 26 for women and almost 28 for men,” According to USA Today in November of 2008.

The age that women are starting families is also increasing. “The average age of first-time mothers has increased by 3.6 years over last 36 years, from the age of 21.4 years in 1970 to the age of 25 in 2006,” According to Health News.

This does pose one problem though. As more women find good careers and earn more money, I’m betting more women start becoming the primary breadwinner in their respective households. This poses the question: who will rear the children?

Many women still want to do this, and are willing to leave the high paying jobs to do so. However, it’s becoming harder every day for a family to live on one salary alone.

So what do we, as women need to do? I think you need to pursue the career you want, and the fulfillment you receive is worth the time you put in. However, I believe that if you want to stay home and raise a family, you should do that to, and not feel guilty about it.

Whatever you do, have the attitude that you can succeed in what you want to do, and don’t let anyone, for any reason, stop you from chasing those dreams.

Robyn Scherer is a graduate student studying integrated resource management. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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