So, you want to talk about the gender gap? Let’s talk facts. First of all, a gender gap is defined by Oxford Languages as the discrepancy between opportunities, status, attitudes, etc. between men and women. While it’s true that the gender gap has narrowed since 1980, according to the Pew Research Center, in 2018 women only earned 85 percent  of what men earned. It comes as no surprise that when talking about the gender gap and the future of equity between men and women, both groups hold entirely different opinions on what the future looks like. 

While it’s true that women often end up working in less profitable fields like healthcare and education; men in these fields still get paid more than women. Additionally, even in industries dominated by women; women are less likely to be supervisors and administrators than men. It’s easy to see why women tend to be pessimistic about the future of pay equity. To put this in perspective, 42 percent of men think there is workplace equity compared to only 21 percent of women. 

In an article published by the HuffPost, it was shown that older women have a more optimistic view in regard to the pay gap. In fact, women over the age of 65 are more likely to think equality exists or will within the next 20 years.

 “Older women have had more time to see change,” said Lydia Saad, Gallup’s Director of U.S. Social Research. “There have been gains, and the longer you’ve been around, the more you see.”

In fact, women who are 65 years and older have seen many achievements in terms of women’s rights and equity through Equal Pay Day established in 1996;Title IX of the Education Amendments in 1972  and even the Equal Pay Act of 1963. It is these defining moments in history that give these women hope, but for younger women monumental moments like these have become few and far between. 

While many may perceive that the gender gap has remained stable and has not worsened, we are nowhere near closing it. In fact, the New York Times reported that we shouldn’t expect the gap in the United States to close until the year 2059. Until then, as the Pew Research Center has found,  women must continue to work an additional 39 days in order to make as much as their male counterparts.

About the Author

 

Estela Suarez-Hernandez is a double major in communication and journalism with a concentration in public relations at the University of Massachusetts. She also is a 2020 National Diversity Council I.M.P.A.C.T communications intern. She loves to learn, drink coffee and meet new people. 

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