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Press Release

Cengage Student Opportunity Index Indicates Lack of Gender Equality

By Victoria Robertson

It has been nearly 100 years since women gained the right to vote, and yet, the gender gap still persists. In fact, nearly half of women who have recently graduated or are nearing graduation claim that the country is still on the wrong track.

Monday, August 26th marked Women’s Equality Day, a celebration of women claiming their right to vote, which, for some, was celebrated with a hint of irony as we still struggle to close the gender gap.

According to a recent press release, a survey conducted as part of the Cengage Student Opportunity Index shows that recent graduates do feel good about their job prospects, women are much less confident than men when it comes to salary expectations. 

In addition, women are significantly less optimistic than men about the US’s economic outlook, with a majority of women reporting that they believe the country is on the wrong track.

According to the press release, the index “measured the opportunity environment for graduates across 17 indicators, using existing public data and a survey of 2,500 recent and upcoming graduates.”

The key findings of the survey spanned employment outlook, politics and the economy, debt and health.

As far as employment outlook is concerned, women were much less confident than men in their job prospects when it came to salary. Only 62 percent of women believed they would land a job that meets their salary expectations, while 75 percent of men thought the same. This equates to 1 in 5 women feeling less than confident that they will reach their salary expectations within a year.

In terms of politics and the economy, only 40 percent of women feel the financial outlook of the US is better than when they left for college, while 62 percent of men felt the same. In addition, 49 percent of men feel the country is going in the right direction while only 29 percent of women felt the same.

As far as debt is concerned, women were more likely than men to graduate with no debt, but for those that have debt, it was slightly higher than men’s.

Finally, in terms of health, 78 percent of men reported being satisfied with their overall health while only 58 percent of women said the same. In addition, 80 percent of men felt satisfied with their mental health while only 65 percent of women said the same.

According to Sharon Leob, the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Cengage, “the cornerstone of the American dream is that everyone deserves an equal and fair opportunity to succeed. And yet, the persistent gender gap among recent college graduates in areas such as salary expectations underscores that we have more work to do in order to create a level playing field.”

She continued, “Women’s Equality Day offers an important reminder to workplace leaders that we must be mindful and purposeful in how we attract, train and develop new talent. It also further validates the special responsibility that my female leadership colleagues and I have to champion the growth and development of other women, regardless of industry.”

These findings indicate that we have a long way to go before women can celebrate equality in earnest.

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