clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Daily Show explains people could be on Mars before the gender wage gap closes

By the most widely used measure, the gender wage gap is 22 cents — meaning full-time, full-year working women make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes.

For one little number, that figure sparks a huge amount of controversy. While equal-pay proponents quote that figure constantly, many (particularly conservatives) decry it as a "myth." But on the latest Daily Show, Kristen Schaal and Jon Stewart nail exactly why the wage gap is a very real and very stubborn problem.

When naysayers say the wage gap is a "myth," they tend to emphasize that men's 22 extra cents don't spring entirely from outright discrimination by employers. That extra money also in part comes from women working in lower-paying industries and occupations. But that doesn't make the 78-cent figure a lie. In fact, there are two wage gaps, and the fact that women tend to work in lower-paying jobs is part of the systemic gap, Schaal explains:

"Society makes it easier for men to go into higher-paying jobs and supports them more when they get them," she says.

"So then all we have to do is provide women better child care options, better ed opportunities, change all the messaging in media and entertainment. I mean really, how complicated could this be?" Stewart responds.

Indeed, closing the wage gap is so difficult that progress has slowed to a crawl. As Schaal and Stewart point out, at the current rate, the wage gap won't be closed until 2058. Not only that, but five states are on track to take until next century to close theirs.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.