In 1973 — at the height of the second-wave feminism movement — the gender wage gap was at its highest, with women receiving just 56.6% of what men earned for the same work. 42 years later that gap has shifted to 79%, which indicates progress, but not nearly enough.
According to the newest edition of the Global Gender Gap report from the World Economic Forum, the difference in pay between men and women is closing at a frustratingly slow pace. In fact, if things don’t change, and soon, it will be 2133 (or 118 years) before women achieve equal pay.
As it stands, women worldwide are earning as much pay as men did back in 2006 even as women surpass men in university enrollment and, over the last decade, more than a quarter billion women entered the workforce.
So why is the wage gap taking so long to close? Our efforts to close the gender pay gap are stalling.
“[W]e need to create a world where women’s contributions and ideals are as valued as those of men,” said WEF executive chairman and founder Klaus Schwab in a press release. “Gender parity in our thinking and actions will be critical in helping to ensure that the future is served by humanity and not threatened by it.”
In other words, educate and empower women and you’ll improve the state of the world.
Country-by-country, Scandinavian and Nordic nations, including Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden round out the top four when graded on women’s health, education, economic participation, and political empowerment, but these countries are closely followed by the developing nations of Rwanda and the Philippines, which rank 6th and 7th, respectively, as well as a few countries in Eastern and Western Europe. At #28, the U.S. doesn’t even crack the Top 20.
Meanwhile, women living in parts of the Middle East and Africa have further to go than anyone, with Chad, Morocco, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, and other countries in the region rounding out the bottom 10.
So what can we do? Well, we have to keep fighting for gender equality — and not just at home. If we continue to support efforts like Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn and The Malala Fund, we can teach girls that they deserve more, including equal pay. We’re not waiting 118 years for anything.
Check out the full Global Gender Gap report here.
[Image via YouTube]