United States Ranks 49th in Gender Equality

Seth Goldstein (TC)'s picture

Since 2006, the World Economic Forum has sent out a report ranking every country in accordance to their gender equality rating. The report takes into account many gender equality metrics such as life expectancy parity, labor participation, wage income gap, and political representation. How the WEF has said that this year was the first time since 2006 that there has been a gender equality retreat. Even though there has been improvements in education, health and politics, regression occurred. If the current gender wage rate maintained as it did now, it would take over 100 years for the global gender gap to close. Even more worrisome, the United States was one of the countries that fell the hardest. When this study was first conducted by the World Economic Forum, the United States ranked 23rd out of the 144 countries in the report. However, now the United States ranks 49th.  

This situtaton is a broader demonstration of what is happening in the state of Michigan. In the state of Michigan, the gender wage gap is one of the worst in the entire country. Michigan ranks in the top 10 for worst gender wage gap. Right now, women earn about $.80 cents for every dollar a man makes. This is despite women's labor participation rising over the past few decades and even totaling more than men at times during this decade. A huge reason why this may occur is a reason that the World Economic Forum brings up. The World Economic Forum stated in their latest 2017 report that a barrier to gender equality and success is occupational gender norms. The WEF found that men are "distinctively under-represented in Education and Health and Welfare while women are strongly under-represented in Engineering, Manufacturing, Information and Communication and Tech (the areas that generally pay higher salaries).

With that being said, there are some questions to think about:

1. Why do you believe the United States regressed in the newest gender equality report?

2. How can the state of Michigan bridge the income equality gap?

3. How can the state of Michigan end gender social norms and get women more represented in higher paying jobs that men currenntly hold such as engineering and technology?