Since the era of 1960s Man Men housewives, women have charged forward collecting more in terms of education, relationship equality, and financial development. And yet, we all know the “77% statistic”— where a full-time working woman earns just 77 cents to every dollar a man earns, contributing to a lifetime wage gap of $431,000.
However, as work culture has begun to more equally include women over the past 50 years since the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women have begun to take the reins on their own finances, holding 60% of all personal wealth in the United States and 51% of all stocks, according to a study by Virginia Tech. Not only are women beginning to earn more in lower-level positions in white collar jobs, but women have transformed a culture towards more gender-neutral leadership, with 1.3 million women cashing in an annual paycheck of $100,000-plus as well as running 40% of all private American businesses.
Of course, gaining control in the workplace translates into gaining more control on the home front, as 90% of women still dictate, influence, and motivate family spending from small household items to large investments like houses, car purchases, and health care. In the future, experts expect that two-thirds of consumer wealth in America will belong to women, dictating the next steps in the evolution of marketing, sales, product development, and a plethora of other cultural and consumer-related markets. This is particularly predictable because any design of a product and its sales tactics follows and targets the largest market. Noticeable changes in sales techniques will begin to follow simple statistics like the fact that 91% of women think that advertisers do not understand them, or that they make 85% of household purchases, or most interestingly, that 50% of products marketed to men are typically bought by women.
Some, like Fox’s Lou Dobbs, consider this information of growing economic power “troubling” information and evidence of “society dissolving around us.”
This is particularly due to a University of Chicago study that established that the more a wife earns in relation to her husband negatively impacts the marriage formation, her labor force participation, marriage satisfaction, likelihood of divorce, and the division of home production. Not only that, but women in general tend to become more selective of the men they choose to marry in the first place because they simply have more choices and opportunity financially.
In reality, this culture change may be exactly what our lagging work force needs to provide a previously (and arguably currently) oppressed gender with the power to make independent choices on their livelihoods. With more financial capabilities, women tend to excel further in education, and put greater weight on the intelligence of their partner as well as their partner's abilities to earn money. This same mindset at home is the same higher quality thought process we then see women apply to every field of work and study today. Ultimately, since the days of the 1950s when women simply had to do any work open to them, they have opened the floodgates to becoming a competitive gender in the workplace, demanding equal work, equal pay, and equal opportunity. The rapid improvement in opportunity for women shows no signs of slowing and will thus force the professional rewards gap for men and women to slowly close.