Many individuals believe that pay equality between men and women in the US has been shrinking over the years, but in reality not much has changed. In an age when men are no longer expected to be the only breadwinner/money source for families, it would make sense that women are paid equally for the same work...but that's far from the case. Something ought to be done, considering that not only do women live longer than men and need to have a income to support themselves, sometimes decades after their husbands die, but many basic consumer products designed for women (*ahem* feminine products) are taxed as "luxury items." In other words, they need more money because they are at a risk of outliving it more so than men.
I was really shocked and inspired by this article from Business Insider, which took a look at the top 2% of all earners in the US. You may be wondering why the focus is on the top 2% instead of the top 1%. Well, there are so few women represented in the top 1% that the data would not make any sense and therefore wouldn't be a good comparison. Rather with the top 2%, the point is that if women and men are making extremely high-earning salaries, the assumption is that both genders are equally qualified to handle that level of work in terms of experience and education. So it literally is the same work.
The average income for the top 2% of all earners in the US is $206,000, but the average difference between the top 2% of women and men is $226,000. On average, the top 2% of women make $145,000 while the top 2% of men make $371,000 on average. That means that among the highest paid people in the country, women make an average of $0.39 for every $1.00 a man makes. Compare this, of course, with the overall US average in 2016 where women make an average of $0.79 for every $1.00 a man makes.
It is important to note that the pay gap here isn't merely a matter of women being paid less than men in these high-power jobs, but rather that so few women are represented at all in the highest levels of management. In fact, so few women make it into the top 1% in some states - that require an average annual salary of $389,436 or more - that it isn't even worth mentioning.
The 5 states with the smallest wage gap (best) between men and women are:
Alaska: Women $150,000 versus Men $200,000
North Dakota: Women $100,000 versus Men $170,000
Indiana: Women $120,000 versus Men $200,000
Wisconsin: Women $130,000 versus Men $211,000
Iowa: Women $110,000 versus Men $193,000
While the top 5 states with the widest wage gap (worst) are:
Connecticut: Women $214,000 versus Men $658,000 -- an average difference of $440,000
New York: Women $200,000 versus Men $613,000
Washington DC (am aware its not a state, but it is reported as one): Women $280,000 versus Men $637,000
New Jersey: Women $200,000 versus Men $555,000
Illinois: Women $170,000 versus Men $505,000
On average, women in the 2% earn salaries below the top 2% average in almost every US state. Perhaps it would really do us good to rethink exactly what real equality looks like before we go lying to our daughters that everything is fine and the scales are tipped more in their favor than ever before.
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