Progress toward gender equality in the United States has slowed or stalled

Paula England, Andrew Levine, Emma Mishel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examine change in multiple indicators of gender inequality for the period of 1970 to 2018. The percentage of women (age 25 to 54) who are employed rose continuously until ~2000 when it reached its highest point to date of 75%; it was slightly lower at 73% in 2018. Women have surpassed men in receipt of baccalaureate and doctoral degrees. The degree of segregation of fields of study declined dramatically in the 1970s and 1980s, but little since then. The desegregation of occupations continues but has slowed its pace. Examining the hourly pay of those aged 25 to 54 who are employed full-time, we found that the ratio of women's to men's pay increased from 0.61 to 0.83 between 1970 and 2018, rising especially fast in the 1980s, but much slower since 1990. In sum, there has been dramatic progress in movement toward gender equality, but, in recent decades, change has slowed and on some indicators stalled entirely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6990-6997
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 31 2020


  • Education
  • Gender
  • Gender inequality
  • Gender pay gap
  • Occupational gender segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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