It’s no secret that it will take a long time before women earn as much as men. But one encouraging trend has emerged in recent months: women’s pay has risen at a faster rate than men.
Bloomberg reports that new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta shows that U.S. women’s hourly wages increased more quickly than men’s last month for the third straight time, marking the longest streak in about six years. Women saw an average raise in pay from year-over-year of about 4.1% in November, which is half a percentage point higher than the rate that male salaries increased.
According to Bloomberg, this is a shift from around five years ago when men’s wages grew at a faster rate due to bigger raises at the end of the Great Recession. “Between 1997 and 2010, wage growth of men and women was about equal. Since 2010 however, a gap has emerged,” Ellyn Terry, an analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta wrote in a blog post. “What explains the gap in wage levels between men and women is still an open question, but this analysis suggests that much of the difference in wage growth through the years has to do with family/job choices and other individual characteristics.”
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The new trend is particularly encouraging in light of a recent study that showed that women asked for raises just as often as men, but received them less often. That study debunked a common idea that women are less aggressive than their male counterparts in asking for more money.