Equal pay day

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For Equal Pay Day, women are still far behind men

If you’re an optimist, you may see the gender wage gap close in your child’s working lifetime. But you probably won’t in yours.

At the very earliest, the wage gap will close in 21 years — in the year 2038. In Florida. But in four states, women won’t see the same pay as men until the 22nd century, the nonprofit Institute for Women’s Policy says.

Right now, women make up an average of 80 cents for every dollar a man does nationally. If we go by the (very, very) slow rate of closing the wage gap from 1959 to 2015, we may not see true equality across the U.S. until 2059 — 100 years after we started tracking the gap through Census data.

And that number is optimistic. For white women, the gap could maybe close in 2056. With black women, pay equality won’t come until the year 2124. For Hispanic women, they won’t be equal in pay until 2248.

That’s 231 years from now. If you can fathom your great-great grandchildren, they might be alive for that historic moment.

“There is no place in America where women can hope to see equal pay in the near future,” says IWPR president Heidi Hartmann. “The United States is one of the most innovative economies in the world. We know that access to better jobs, child care, and paid leave would help close the stubborn wage gap between men and women. We shouldn’t have to wait several decades, even centuries, to solve this problem.”

State-by-state comparison

equal pay by state

Will you live to see the wage gap closed in your state? IWPR says when broken down by state, some are further along in hitting equal pay for genders than others.

The report expects the U.S. to hit equal pay by 2059, but some states may hit it sooner. If you’re an older-ish millennial woman living in Florida (like myself), you may rejoice at seeing this happen within your lifetime. In 21 years — the year 2038 — Floridian women could get equal pay!

Other states won’t hit this mark for roughly five years after Florida, and that’s at the earliest. Those states — California, Maryland, and Nevada — won’t welcome pay equality until 2043.

But it’s the ones that aren’t as far along that are troubling. Four states won’t see the gender pay gap close until the turn of the century. North Dakota is earliest at 2102, then Utah at 2106. It’ll be 2115 when Louisiana ladies will get equal pay, but the women of Wyoming will be last. There won’t be equal pay there until 2153.

“Women are a significant part of the workforce and economy of every state in the country,” Hartmann says. “A slow crawl toward equal pay is a drag on each state’s economy, not to mention the U.S. economy overall.”

Because women are struggling to earn as much as their male peers, it hurts them so much more in the long run. Women are paying tens of thousands of dollars more than men later in life for health care. Women tend to live longer than men, and because of this, they will pay significantly more for their health later on in life. As they continue to earn less than men, women will be suffering in health and wealth.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


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