The gender pay gap isn’t significantly narrowing, and it’s more complicated than we think it is. We’ve consistently heard the 70-something cents to a dollar figure, and while that figure does exist and is backed up by various studies, the wage gap has more facets than just that. As Kristen Schaal put it on The Daily Show, there are two gaps: the first being women directly receiving lower wages because they are women and the second being systemic discrimination.
“Society makes it easier for men to go into higher-paying jobs and supports them more when they get them,” she said. And Jon Stewart responded with the obvious solutions to this problem: “provide women better child care options, better ed opportunities, change all the messaging in media and entertainment.” But this isn’t happening, made clear by new data that predicts it will take until the next century for pay parity in all 50 states.
The Daily Show was citing a new study from the from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) that indicates that women won’t have equal pay to men until 2058. Florida will be the first to reach pay parity in 2058, but five states won’t cross that line until at least 2100.
Which states are the worst
Wyoming is by far the worst offender — it won’t achieve pay parity until 2159 (more than 100 years after Florida) according to the study. West Virginia, North Dakota, Utah, and Louisiana are the other states that won’t have equal pay until at least 2100. In the meantime, the gender earnings ratios vary in the states at present, with New York having the best one at 87.6%, and Louisiana coming in last with 66.7%. Vox points out that the larger gaps in certain states stem from the popular industries in those states. For example, Wyoming and North Dakota are dominated by the oil and gas industry, which have more high-paying jobs held by men.
There have been some improvements in pay parity in the past decade, according to IWPR. Women’s median annual earnings were basically the same in 2002 and in 2013 (both around $39,000), but the gender earnings ratio did improve during this time from 76.6 to 78.3%. So though women weren’t earning significantly more money, the gap between them and men did narrow by 1.7 percentage points. In addition, the amount of women working in professional or managerial occupations rose from 33.2% to 39.9%, although there was a lower participation rate for women in the labor force overall (it dropped from 59.6% in 2002 to 57% in 2014).
Progress has stalled
As the data from the last decade shows, both women and men aren’t making more money. Wage stagnation for men in general has led to a slight narrowing in the gap. While men’s wages have stagnated over the last 30 years, from an inflation-adjusted median of $50,096 to $50,033, women’s wages have climbed in that period, from $30,138 to $39,157.
Most of that progress happened between 1980 and 2000, though. The gender earnings ratio increased from 60.2% in 1980 to 71.6% in 1990 to 73.7% in 2000, but then slowed to a glacial pace. Actually, it remained relatively constant: The ratio was 76.3% in 2001 and 76.5% in 2012. 2013 saw an increase, with the ratio jumping to 78.3%, but, as IWPR, women still earn less than men in every single state.