Women Will Have to Wait Over 200 Years to Close Economic Gap, Study Says

The issue of gender income equality is a hotly debated one, particularly in the United States.

A number of organizations have tried, using various methods, to figure out just how wide the gender pay gap is. A new report, which looks at gender income inequality across the globe, attempts the same, and it comes with a shocking projection: Women throughout the world will not have income equality with men for over 200 years.

The report, authored by the World Economic Forum (WEF), finds that even in just the past year, the general gender equality gap has widened since 2016’s report. Whereas last year the general gap was expected to close in 83 years, this year it has grown to 100 years.

However, if gender economic gap trends (not to be confused with the general gap which includes political and education access) continue to hold true, this projection grows to 217 years. The region with the largest projection for ending the gap may surprise readers: It’s North America, at 168 years.

Globally speaking, though, all regions surveyed were found to have net improvements, so it’s not all bad news.

That isn’t to say that massive changes are not warranted, though. Should women really be expected to wait a century before they (potentially) get to experience equality?

One obvious path to accelerating the closure of the economic gap, and gender gap in general, would be through improving women’s access to higher education and vocational training. Unfortunately, though women’s access has grown rapidly in many parts of the world, including North America, this report shows that this alone is not enough.

A report from the U.S. Department of Labor released this past spring showed that, across all fields, American women make an average of 82 cents for every full dollar a man makes. And, no, this gap is not merely the result of women failing to find work in higher paid, skilled positions – in reality, the women who do often actually experience larger income gaps than the overall average.

Female physicians, for example, endure the largest wage gap of any profession in the U.S., making just 63 cents on the dollar.

What does this mean? It means that though better access to education for women can improve economic opportunities, it is not a panacea.

For perspective on this it is worth considering the region projected to close its gender gaps most rapidly: Western Europe in 61 years. Though still a long time, it is more than a century sooner than is expected for North America. This is arguably due to rather different economic realities – whereas North America (and the United States, in particular) is built heavily on free market economic principles, Western Europe has increasingly embraced social democracy.

The free market is usually supported by the idea that injustices and inequalities in society will naturally resolve themselves without intervention. But the evidence speaks for itself: if women are to wait around for the free market to sort out the economic equality gap, it could take more than two centuries.

So in addition to granting greater access to higher education for women, employers should be required to adhere to a high standard of transparency, both with the government and its employees, when it comes to salary and wages. Affirmative action, which is currently in the Trump administration’s crosshairs, should be strengthened and better enforced.

Gender inequality is not a feminist-created myth. It is real and to pretend that it should be allowed to work itself out in due time — especially when there are practical solutions in front of us — is absurd and should not be tolerated by women and their male allies anywhere in the world.

Photo Credit: moodboard / Thinkstock.


Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 months ago

It seems like about every 10 years or so Congress passes another law to force employers to pay women equally. If you don't like what an employer is paying you, get another job!

Stephanie s
Stephanie s3 months ago

No it will not take this long. More like 20 years i think but not everywhere. Women are seen as secondary citizens in many parts of the world and in those parts it will be challenging.

Emma Z
Emma Z3 months ago

thank you

jan b
jan b3 months ago

Men run the Govt at around 80% participation. They run the media---wall st and even religion. And no one is happy....not even the men. There is little in balance of priorities. The feminine is the way to a more peaceful world.
Handed down through the ages, often the opinions of some men today, who thought it was madness to leave a woman solely in charge of her own fate as it went against human nature, the laws of God and of course MAN himself.
Centuries of submissiveness damaged the spirits of women who were taught because they lacked physical strength, then they were not equal to men in intelligence.
This country elected another MAN or the Electoral College did..... And TRUMP has called women pigs, slobs and dogs.ccc Once called a Hispanic woman in one of his beauty pageants "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping." and has groped women by their private parts
The war against women will not be won unless we are united because it is being fought with women on the side of those who would have us kept us submissive and just breeders..
There were SOME women of culture and education who thought they would be celebrating Susan B Anthony's life....the women's rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women's suffrage movement. when our first nominated woman in over 240 years would be elected President. But a sexual predator, no role model for anyone was apparently better than a qualified WOMAN. SHAME. upon this

One Heart i
One Heart inc3 months ago


Chad A
Chad Anderson3 months ago

Thank you.

Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago

i see women being the future,at least on equal ground an not too distant either.

Marija K
Marija K3 months ago

John W - That male-identified puppet tendentiously named 'factual feminist'? Give me a fvcking break. Why don't you reference us some Camille Paglia or Karen Straughan, those two literally have d!cks sticking out of their foreheads..

caroline l
caroline lord3 months ago

cld do better,must try harder

Anne M
Anne M3 months ago

Noted, not with a joy.