DENVER (KDVR) — A recent study from the Pew Research Center shows that young women are earning more than young men in nearly a dozen U.S. cities, showing what is being called a “reverse gender pay gap.” 

The study analyzed 2019 earnings for women and men under 30 years old.  In the Denver metro, men are still outpacing women, according to the study.


“I feel like there’s a tech effect, that is when it comes to tech jobs, Denver is a major player in the tech industry,” Stefanie Johnson, an associate professor with the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business said. 

“There’s still this prototype of the tech genius being this young man that is out of school and is going to create the next big thing, and we don’t see the same thing with women in tech.”

Johnson explains Colorado’s newly passed Equal Pay for Equal Work Act could soon tighten or eliminate the gap in the next few years.  The legislation was passed in 2021, Johnson says, and that data is not yet accounted for.


“We’re not seeing the effect of that yet here in the Denver metro area,” Johnson said.  “If we looked at this study here in three years, I would hope and expect to see less of a pay gap across age for men and women.”


Johnson says a concept called “mommy tracking” can negatively impact women in the workforce, noting that if women decide to have children the pay gap often widens.


“Women exit the workforce to have more time with their children, or even if they don’t they’re given lesser responsibilities as organizational members assume that they have less time for work and they end up having a big drop in terms of pay,” Johnson said.  “That tends to accumulate over time.”