As millions of millennial women are starting to find out, the job market can be a very unforgiving place if you're a lady. A recently released report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research detailed the grim outlook for women who have the audacity to believe they should be paid the same as men. The good news is that the U.S. on average should hit pay parity in 2059, but some states will have to wait much, much longer. Approximately 19 states won't achieve equal pay in your lifetime, unless everyone comes together to do something about it.
Wyoming hit the top of the list, with an estimated 136 years to close the wage gap. That's super depressing, but it's also a great example of how the wage gap actually works. The sociological phenomenon isn't often explained very well, leaving plenty of critics to argue that it doesn't exist. But in Wyoming, where the primary industries are male-dominated fields like mining and construction, women don't have the same access to higher-paying jobs.
Even if women did significantly break into those industries, research shows that pay across the entire sector would fall, just because women are taking those jobs. Other factors, such as family commitments, also limit women's ability to earn, but that shouldn't be ascribed to "individual choice" and left at that. The country needs a cultural restructuring to de-genderize careers and family responsibilities, because "women's work" should be valued just as highly as men's.