One more brief item from the Harvard Business Review's section on the gender wage gap: Naive Graduates:
College students’ perceptions of the gender discrimination they’ll face—or take advantage of—when they graduate are out of step with the reality that researchers have found in the workplace. The vast majority of about 1,300 U.S. students surveyed in 2006 predicted that gender wouldn’t affect their pay or promotions, according to a study led by Stephanie Sipe of Georgia Southern University. Its findings dovetail with those of other studies in which women report that their education left them unprepared for the discrimination they faced in their professional lives.
I also remember believing that sexism had been conquered as I graduated from high school. After all, I matriculated with a half-female medical school class in UMKC's 6-year BA/MD program. Reality hit during classes, as patients still assumed me to be a nurse or other non-doctor-type on the wards. I am glad to report that patients, in my experience, make this assumption less often. No, sexism in medicine still exists but is less overt. Unfortunately, hidden 'isms are more difficult to identify and call out.
These young women recognized sexism that affected women in the workplace; however, very few thought that sexism would affect them personally. We seem to have instilled a message that worthy individuals can somehow overcome the barriers of a class to which they belong. Yes, women face discrimination, but women can overcome that if they are skilled. Sexism will not affect me personally, it only affects "others."
We need to educate "our daughters" better about the sexism that they will experience in the workplace. It must be made clear to them that they will experience issues simply because they are female. Much progress has been made, but we have a long road to true equality. Only when our daughters appreciate these issues can they fight them and make the next steps forward.