BEHIND THE PAY GAP. I attended a hearing this morning held by the House's Education and Labor Committee that examined the Paycheck Fairness Act on this, Equal Pay Day. Though the PFA has been introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro 10 times, this is the first time the committee held a hearing.

A report released yesterday by the American Association of University Women found that women one year out of a 4-year college earn 80 percent of what their male counterparts earn. When the report looks at women 10 years after graduation, women are earning 69 cents to every dollar that men earn. The most significant finding of the study, though, is that controlling for all factors, including "educational and occupational choices, as well as demographic and personal characteristics," an "unexplained" 5 percent gap exists one year out of college which widens to a 12 percent gap 10 years after college. Furthermore, as Catherine Hill, research director at AAUW testified, attending a highly-selective institution does little to boost a woman's pay, and educated women experience a greater pay gap than women overall.

Some more conservative committee members denied the credibility of the study, but as Rep. Carol Shea-Porter put it, the pay gap is "easily noticed by those who live it."

--Kay Steiger

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