According to the latest Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum, women will earn as much Money as men by the year 2186. In 170 years, men and women will virtually be equal worldwide.

Global Gender Gap Report rankings and statistics

The report measures gaps between men and women in education, economic opportunity, political power and health in 144 countries. The index solely focuses on the gender gaps in the country; the level of development of the country is not part of its ranking.

Therefore, the worldwide gender inequity can’t be blamed on poor, developing countries.

Iceland had the highest ranking, closing about 87% of its gender gap. The U.S. ranked 45th, closing about 72% of the gender gap.

What can happen in 170 years?

Obviously, 170 years is a long time thinking relatively. To put it into perspective, here’s what was happening in the U.S. in 1846:

  • Iowa became a state.
  • U.S. annexed California and New Mexico.
  • The Donner party set out for California on a wagon trail.
  • Ether was used as an anesthetic for the first time.
  • The Mexican-American War began.
  • James K. Polk was president.

Since 1846, women have gained the right to vote, joined the workforce, pursued higher education, and even ran for world leader positions. If we have come this far in 170 years, why will it take 170 more years to become completely equal?

Women in the workforce and at home

Women have traditionally been seen as the homemaker and caretaker of the family. While it is a man’s duty to provide financial support for his family, it is the woman’s job to take care of the home and well-being of her family. Today in the U.S., women make up about 47% of the workforce; however, a woman younger than 35 makes 10% less than a man holding the same position.

When a woman is over 35, she makes 20-25% less than a man in the same position.

More women than ever are pursuing higher education, but less women attend graduate school, which is likely because of pressure to start a family. If they decide to have a career and a family, they are virtually working two jobs. Traditionally, it is expected for a man to come home from work to relax, and a woman to come home from work to do housework and take care of the children.

In addition, a woman may feel the need to prove herself more capable than her male counterpart in the workplace, or she may be expected to do more to prove her worth. This makes it more difficult for women to be in positions of power, especially if a woman has a family. Hiring managers will ask questions such as, "how will she balance a family on top of such an important job?" and, "Will she have to take extra time off for her family? Because the still relatively traditional in its thinking, less women are in higher managerial positions.

What changes need to be made?

Because the Global Gender Gap Report does not take the industrialization of countries into account, the rankings indicate the mindset of that country's citizens. Again, the United States is more traditional in its thinking, whereas Iceland and other Nordic countries follow a more progressive agenda. The only way to shrink the gender gap is to change the mindset of citizens, which, in some cases, goes against centuries of tradition.

So since it took until 1920 to allow women to vote in the U.S. and until 1965 to allow married couples to use prescription contraception, maybe 170 years isn't such an outlandish guess.

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