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How Women’s Education and Earnings Have Changed

One Degree Can Change Your Earning Potential

If youre on the fence about whether or not to earn a degree, you might consider the impact of not pursuing postsecondary education—especially if youre a woman.

First, lets look at the numbers for all workers. A higher education has an enormous double-impact effect by boosting income and employment prospects. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with a high school education earn just 56% of what people with a bachelor's or higher college degree earn.1 A college education also leads to lower unemployment.

How Women’s Education and Earnings Have Changed

So, why is it particularly important for women to earn a degree?

The numbers are telling: In 1979, 17.8% of women held a bachelor’s degree or higher and earned 62% of what men earned working full time. By 2017, 42% of working women held a bachelor's degree or higher, and their earnings had risen to 82% of what men earned.2 Theres some variation according to industry, but another way to look at it is that women who work full time earn 18% less than men. Clearly, continued education is an essential tool in leveling the field and addressing income disparity.

Whichever way you look at it, that difference in the numbers adds up fast, and a college education is the decisive variable.

Are you ready to start your college search? Have you already earned a bachelor’s degree and are ready to consider a master's or doctoral degree to help you move up in your career? Or maybe youre at a point where continued education, such as a certificate course, is a good fit. Whatever the situation, higher education can help increase your earning power.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,