The Wage Gap Will Close After We're All Dead

Illustration for article titled The Wage Gap Will Close After We're All Dead

A new study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research institute tracked census data from 1959 to present day to determine when the wage gap would creak shut in America. The results are depressing more than sobering: It's not happening nationally until at least 2058.


While some states will see the gap close in this century (yay!), according to the data, the first state will be Florida, which won't see it close until 2038. California will close its gap 2042. Wyoming, however, is far behind the curve, not seeing pay equality until approximately 2159. That means, according to The Daily Beast, that a girl born in Wyoming today wouldn't even come close to seeing pay equality and even if she were born in 2100, the gap would close just as she's about to retire.

The study's analysts didn't control for occupation but say that job segregation and lack of women in STEM fields contributes to the overall disparity in pay. The biggest factor, however, may be the fact that there aren't enough policies that support women in the workplace.

From The Daily Beast:

Nowhere is this lack of support for female in the workplace more apparent than the lack of guaranteed paid maternity leave in the U.S.—the only developed nation without it. "Women still take on a disproportionate part of the care burden and have to take more time off," says Milli. "This has huge implications for their earnings, and their overall experience in the workplace."

To further illustrate the gravity of this problem, the authors calculated the cumulative lost wages due to the nationwide gender gap. Among women born between 1955 and 1959 who worked full-time, year-round, total lost wages exceeds $530,000. For female college graduates the losses are even greater. According to their notes, by the time a college-educated woman turns 59, she will have lost nearly $800,000.

There is a silver lining, however: According to analyst Jessica Milli, women are earning a majority of college degrees in The United States and the higher level of education may mean that women will begin earning more soon.

But, as The Daily Beast points out, even this has some depressing implications, considering that the higher the level of education, the bigger the wage gap it creates:

The gap of earnings is widest for those women with the highest level of education. Women with bachelor's degrees earn 71.4 percent of what their male counterparts make. Women with graduate degrees? Just over 69 percent.


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YES! I'll be getting equal pay when I'm 78!