The wage gap between young male and female workers is historically low. The wage gap between young male and female workers is growing. Yes, both things can be true at the same time.
Intergenerational economic inequality is declining: The gap between male and female wages among Millennials is lower than it was among boomers or Gen-X. But the pernicious gender gap is reasserting itself as you look higher up in the corporate ladder. Income data shows that middle-aged women fall behind their male peers, particularly when they take time off to be moms. Men with families and children, on the other hand, earn more than their same-aged bachelor colleagues, according to Pew. So as Millennials grow up, today's entry-level inequality could still yield to middle-age inequality.
If that paragraph doesn't entirely make sense to you, this graph should make things crystal clear. It comes from data in a new PayScale and Millennial Branding study. You can see Millennials (in grey) have the smallest gender-wage gap at all levels, but the difference in pay deepens as you move up the corporate ladder.
The Gender Wage Gap: Percent Difference in Pay Between Men and Women
This is what economists call the "sticky floor" theory of the gender wage gap. Women make very close to men coming out of college, but as men climb the corporate ladder, female salaries stick to the ground. Consider that women account for 49 percent of the bottom 99 percent of earners, but just 11 percent of the 1 percent, and just 9 percent of the top 0.1 percent of earners, according to one recent paper.