On Tuesday the US marked Equal Pay Day, the date that represents how much longer women have had to work to make as much money as men did the year before. And as if having to work four months longer than our male counterparts to earn the same wage isn’t bad enough, to add insult to injury, TIME has published data to suggest that almost half of men think the gender pay gap is ‘made up’.
In a poll of 8,566 American adults conducted by SurveyMonkey, nearly half of men (46%) believe that the pay gap “is made up to serve a political purpose,” rather than being a “legitimate issue.” And about a quarter of men ages 18 to 34 (24%) say that media reports of men and women being paid unequally is “fake news”.
Overall only 62% of Americans believe that men make more money than women for similar types of work, Despite the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau acknowledging that women in America are on average making about 81 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
In 2018 Equal Pay Day was marked in Australia on the 31st of August, the earliest it has been celebrated in 20 years. This means on average women in Australia have to work for almost nine months longer than men to receive the same pay.
What is more concerning is that in the US men aged 18 to 34 are most likely to incorrectly believe that there is no gap in pay. These results point to a frightening new reality, we are facing a stall or even a turnaround in the movement toward gender equality. In 2017 reports from the Council on Contemporary Families found that millennial men are more supportive of old-school marriages and stay-at-home wives than the young men of 20 years ago.
As one popular sign at the Women’s March on Washington said, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this fucking shit.” Acceptance is the first stage of healing and while we can’t force men to believe us, they can’t deny the facts.