Amanda , there’s an entirely different way of looking at that study about young women living in cities earning more than men. Yes, they are a cultural elite-young, educated women under 30 living in big metropolitan areas. But they are also a vanguard. Change always comes first to young educated women living in big cities, and then the rest of the country follows. The main engine fueling this change-the fact that for every two men graduating from college, three women will do the same-is not going to change anytime soon, which suggests that the next many waves of educated women will also outearn men. And the men are not picking up the hint."This generation [of women] has adapted to the fundamental restructuring of the American economy better than their older predecessors or male peers," says James Chung, author of the study published in Time . Or as he also puts it: The women are "clocking" the men.
This is not your dad’s economy anymore. That scenario you describe: women becoming secretaries while men become car mechanics and plumbers and eventually outearn them-just isn’t happening anymore. Women are becoming managers while men are becoming unemployed plumbers and car mechanics.
As for what happens when women get married and have babies: That tragic life scenario is having a lot less of a dent on their earning potential than it used to. Women get married and have children later, and by the time they do, they have a lot more leverage to dictate the terms of their future work-particularly the kinds of women this study covers. It really is not 1982 anymore. If the panicked sexist response is outdated, so is the wary feminist one.