Women in America today surely have it easier than our great-grandmothers. We can vote, go to college, build careers, own property, and take as many selfies as we want. But we're still miles away from reaching full equality with men. Women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, we've got loads more glass ceilings to crack, and of course, casual sexism is everywhere.
The obstacles women face are painfully obvious to me, as someone who reports on sexism daily. But according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans—a staggering 45%—think women face no obstacles at all. Say what?
It's true. Pew surveyed a nationally representative sample of 4,602 adults and found that tons of people don't think gender inequality is a thing anymore. Of course, that number grows when you break the survey down by gender.
In the report, 56% of men said that challenges women once faced have basically been eliminated, while only a third of women agreed that was true. So yes, most women believe the battle is still being fought (we're so silly), while men have all but packed up and gone home.
Another interesting tidbit? The percentage of gender-inequality deniers gets even worse when you add party affiliation into the mix. A whopping 75% of Republican men felt women no longer faced any challenges at all. This might help the rise of Donald Trump's campaign and his ability to call women slobs, pigs, and pieces of ass and suggest we should be punished for abortions.
These stats are depressing and unacceptable. Women do face a host of issues in this country—that's not an opinion but a fact—and it's much more challenging to fix them when people don't even recognize the problem. So for the half of you questioning the plight of women, let me hit you with some hot stats real quick.
Women still face a major wage gap: Those of us who work in full-time wage and salary jobs earn roughly 83% of men's median weekly earnings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sometimes less, depending on the profession—for example, women in legal professions earn only 56.7% of what men earn.
Women are largely overlooked for promotions, a reality reflected in the fact that ladies only account for 4.4% of Fortune 500 CEOs. We're also underrepresented in politics: Women make up only 19.4% of the House and 20% of the Senate, despite accounting for more than half of the U.S. population. Oh, and we still haven't had a woman President—yet.
Women's healthcare is largely overlooked in science, including the fact that women are often excluded from clinical trials and women's pain is often taken less seriously by doctors.
Women also still have to fight everyday to make decisions about our own bodies. The fear of sexual assault continues to persist: 1 in 5 women say they've been raped or experienced an attempted rape in their lifetime. And the U.S. lags behind all other western countries when it comes to maternity and family leave policies—which affects the careers of women more than men, further holding us back.
Even our female Olympians, the women to whom we literally award gold medals for their strength and sacrifice, face sexism on the daily.
This list is clearly not exhaustive, which is why it boggles my mind that more than half the men in this country (and many women) deny the problem exists. Seriously—we can do better.
Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.