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Will We Ever Close The Gender Pay Gap?


The gender pay gap is shrinking, but it’s still persistent. And while that might seem like good news on a surface level, it’s not really good enough to make millions of working American women feel better about being paid less than their male counterparts. That’s because no matter how you cut it — looking at the data controlled by education and experience or looking at pay for all men vs. all women — there is a pay gap.

How bad is the gender pay gap? The answer varies. For example, our own controlled data shows that women earn 98 cents for every dollar a man makes. Other sources like the AAUW show that women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man makes. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what source you use, because they all have one thing in common: women simply earn less than men.

When Will We Finally Close The Gender Pay Gap?

Without a crystal ball, it’s difficult to say. The data we have — such as that from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research — paints a bleak picture, showing that pay equity could be decades away. The answer also varies by geographic location: some states might see the gap close in 30 years or less, while others are more than a century away from parity.

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States That Could Close The Pay Gap First

Data from the Institute of Women’s Policy Research calculates that six states could reach pay parity in the next 20 years or so. Are you surprised to see any of these states on the list?

  • Floridapay parity by 2038
  • Californiapay parity by 2042
  • Marylandpay parity by 2042
  • Arizonapay parity by 2044
  • Nevadapay parity by 2044
  • Texaspay parity by 2047

States That Will Close The Pay Gap Last

From the same report, we can also see which states are lagging behind the most. For some of these states, it will be over 100 years before women will be able to reach pay parity.

  • Wyoming pay parity by 2159
  • Louisianapay parity by 2106
  • North Dakotapay parity by 2104
  • Utahpay parity by 2102
  • West Virginiapay parity by 2101
  • South Carolinapay parity by 2094

The Future Seems Bleak, But You Can Change That

The light at the end of the tunnel is that you as an individual have the power to ensure that you don’t get caught in the gender pay gap. Take the PayScale Salary Survey to know your worth in the job market. Learning what your value is based on your skills, experience and location will help you negotiate a higher salary for yourself in the long run. And just by negotiating your own salary, you make it easier for other women to do the same. There isn’t a one-trick solution to solving the gender pay gap, but advocating for yourself is a great first step.

Tell Us What You Think

Thoughts on the future of gender pay equity? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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