The Wage Gap Will Close In 170 Years, According To The World Economic Forum's Depressing New Report
It's 2016. We have cars that drive themselves, robots replacing humans in the workplace, and McDonald's serves all-day breakfast. Yet women are still pushing for equal pay to men. Well, I received good news this morning: The World Economic Forum reported its estimate for when the wage gap will close, and I'll only be 198 years old when it finally happens. That's right: As conditions stand, we have another 170 years before women receive equal pay for equal work.
The WEF releases its Global Gender Gap Report every year, analyzing gender inequality across 144 countries and examining areas of health, education, economy, and politics. There were some improvements in health and education, but equal pay is looking bleak. Last year, the WEF had estimated that equal pay would come in 118 years. This year, they added another 53 years. That means that we can (hopefully) expect equal pay in the year 2186. And what a wonderful year that'll be. Except we'll all be dead.
Making matters worse is the fact that in some countries, the gender gap score is going down — meaning conditions are declining and the pay gap is growing. Industrialized nations are just as responsible for these concerning results as developing nations are.
Disappointingly, the United States came in 45th place, down last year from 28th. What the [bleep] happened?
The reasoning behind this discouraging news warrants even greater attention: Women are participating in the labor force less, and the number of women in senior positions is on the decline. On average, women across the globe earn half of what men do, despite working longer hours and attending college in equal or higher numbers across 95 countries. All of this combined makes for the biggest divide between men and women since 2008.
It's not very reassuring that we're as bad off as we were nearly a decade ago. In the U.S. specifically, women earn roughly $0.80 for every dollar paid to men, at best. The median annual pay for a woman employed full-time and year-round is $40,742. For a man, it's $51,212. This makes for an annual gender wage gap of approximately $10,470! A woman is literally worth 80 percent of what a man is.
There are so many questions we need to be asking: Why are women working less? Why are they filling high-level positions less frequently? Men are outnumbering and out-earning women, once again reinforcing the feeling that it's a man's world and we're just living in it.
This isn't meant to be a pity party for the ladies; but the numbers don't lie. And frankly, this is scary. Where are all the women employees, and why is their work still considered less valuable?