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April 10, 2014What “gap,” considered by many commentators to be a “myth” that is damaging to women, has been prominently featured in the news as of late? Why, the thigh gap, of course. 

In the past year, the concept of the thigh gap has dominated social media. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a thigh gap is the space that appears between the thighs of a woman who is either very thin or has legs that are naturally wide-set. If that description does not apply to any women you know, you’re not alone. 

Reactions to the thigh gap include intense longing by girls and women who arguably need to adjust their opinions of their own bodies, intense outrage by women who are tired of seeing the thigh gap photo-shopped into advertisements, and humorous send-ups of the thigh gap by individuals citing SpongeBob Squarepants’ stick legs as embodying the ideal “gap size.”

Is the conversation surrounding the thigh gap important? Sure. It’s important for young girls and women to be active and strong and confident in their bodies.

But if we are going to bother talking about gaps, why not start with the wage gap? Even if girls and women embrace their “thunder thighs” in all their glory and take the world by storm, the pay gap is still large enough to body check their self-esteem once they realize what it means.

The pay gap, which is not a mythical concept but a reality in countries around the world, means that working women, their families, and their communities, are losing money every day. The average American woman makes 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. While the size of the gap changes based on industry, specialty, and a number of other variables, the fact that there is a gap remains constant.

Catalyst’s recent report The Promise of Future Leadership shows that, even when women and men graduate from the same MBA programs and enter the same industries, high-potential women still earn $4,600 less than their male peers in their first post-MBA jobs.

That kind of money could pay for education, travel, or any number of things. It could even pay for a treadmill, a gym membership, and a juice cleanse to help women attain that ever-elusive thigh gap!

When women’s wages rise, we will gain more power—and eventually we’ll run out of gaps to worry about.