7 insane facts about the wage gap every person should know

Although some may deny it, it’s a definitive fact: Though it’s 2016, women are still getting paid less than men for doing the same jobs. While it may sound like a simple-yet-unfortunate truth, the wage gap is an exceedingly complex issue with countless factors at play. Here are some important, shocking facts about the wage gap that we all need to know in order to close it, once and for all.


1. The wage gap widens as women get promoted


The “70-something cents to every dollar” figure we hear is called the “uncontrolled” pay gap; it’s calculated by comparing what all women make compared to what all men make. This argument is often brought up by those who don’t believe in the wage gap (and who don’t understand that the fact women aren’t in high-paying positions is a part of the problem).

However, there is also a “controlled” pay gap, according to a report released in November 2015 which found that, as a woman is promoted to a higher position, the difference between what she makes and what a man in her same position would make gets larger. The discrepancy is technically smaller than the uncontrolled gap, with women making an average of 2.7% less than men in the same positions, but as you move up the corporate ladder, this number only grows, with an female executive making 6.1% less than a male executive in her same position.

2. It could take over a century to close the wage gap


According to the November 2015 edition of the Global Gender Gap report from the World Economic Forum, the gap is closing. . . but very, very slowly. In 1973, it was at its highest, with women earning 56.6% of what men make; in 2015, the number increased to 79%. If society doesn’t change seriously soon, women will only be able to make the same as men in 2133. . . 117 years from now.

3. Encouraging girls to play video games could close the gap


In April of 2013, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg gave a talk at the Bellevue in Philadelphia about gender equality in which she urged parents to encourage their daughters to play video games just as much as little boys. “Computer games are the gateway to computer science,” Sandberg said during the talk. “A lot of kids code because they play games. Give your daughters computer games. Ask them to play them.”

As author of Geek Girl Rising Samantha Parent highlighted in a 2015 Huffington Post op-ed, studies have shown that “exposure to video games could play a significant role as part of a larger strategy designed to interest women in science and engineering careers” — which could ultimately lead to pay equality.

4. New York is the only state where women outearn men


According to a 2015 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, in the years 2011 – 2013, New York women on average actually earned just a little bit more than their male counterparts ($1.02 to $1.00).

5. If the gender gap didn’t exist, the world would be a whooole lot richer


A September 2015 study found that closing the wage gap wouldn’t just benefit women, but the entire world. In fact, if it didn’t exist, the world would be $28 trillion richer. Both developing and advanced countries could actually increase their GDP by 10% if women and men were paid equally. Hypothetical ka-ching.

6. The United States is one of the worst places to be a working woman


Earlier this month, for International Women’s Day, The Economist published their Glass Ceiling Index, which measured factors like wage gap, child care costs, paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers, higher education, women on company boards, the number of women in positions of political power, and the number of senior managers who are women. Unfortunately, they also found that the United States scored below average. (If you were wondering where to move to, Iceland scored the best, FYI.)

7. If women take over a male-dominated field, the wage drops


Last week, The New York Times highlighted a grim fact: When more women enter a higher-paying field, the pay declines, despite the fact that they’re doing the same jobs that the men were doing before — essentially solidifying the fact that women are paid less simply for being women.

“It just doesn’t look like it’s as important to the bottom line or requires as much skill,” Paula England, a sociology professor at New York University, told NYT. “Gender bias sneaks into those decisions.”

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