The well-documented pay disparity between women and men becomes especially pronounced as women reach their late 20s and early 30s. Researchers suggest that being aware of this divergence may have implications not just for how young women make choices about internships and jobs, but also about their romantic relationships.
In her new book, Post Grad: Five Women and Their First Year Out of College, Caroline Kitchener, a writer who graduated from Princeton in 2014, explores the personal and professional choices she and four fellow female classmates made during their first year out of college. The five women pursued very different professional paths—writing, medical school, computer programming, jazz singing, and documentary filmmaking—but all experienced shifts in the relationships they had with their parents, partners, and friends as they tried to stake out their independence and start their careers. While these women certainly have a leg up thanks to their prestigious alma mater, there are some facets of the post-college experience that reflect the choices many women make to balance their aspirations at work and at home.
I spoke with Kitchener about her new book, the dilemmas faced by recently graduated women, and how the women she interviewed defined and attained independence. The interview that follows has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Adrienne Green: Your book is about the first years out of college not just in terms of career, but also in terms of how women cope with trying to structure their own lives. Can you explain that a little more?