Equal Pay for Women: is the demand based in myth or reality?
1, 2, 3, 4: What are we fighting for?
5, 6, 7, 8: Women’s pay is what’s at stake!
Since the women’s march equal pay for women has really been on my mind. It brought up so many questions. Does gender bias extend it’s reach into the paychecks of women, specifically female writers? Am I getting paid less than a man in my field? Do women settle for lower paying positions? Are women working less hours than men? Who is deciding to pay less? Is the wage gap a myth? Why?
Is it real?
I started with the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get some answers. The BLS allows for valid comparisons in occupations as well as industry, and to no one’s surprise, men are paid 20% more money annually than women. Specifically speaking, in 2014, 103 women identified as writers and authors and those women reported $1016 as median weekly earnings (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016b). Males who also identified as writers and authors report an average of $1168 a week (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016b).
That is a whopping $152 weekly difference. That’s a pair of shoes, three if you’re frugal! That’s a trip to Sephora. That’s at least SEVEN BOOKS. That’s an annual vacation if you can figure out how to keep money in your savings account (*sigh* I’m working on it).
So, female writers are getting paid less. Is it because women work part time as writers? Is it because women are less educated than men? According to the American Association of University Women, there are many variables in play when considering women’s pay. Their report shows overrepresentation for each gender in specific fields such as construction, maintenance, education, healthcare, office administration (The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap, 2017). The jobs associated with men, such as construction and maintenance, tend to pay more than the fields associated with women, such as education and office administration (The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap, 2017). This does not mean women need to get into construction to earn as much as men, because as the study shows, women sharing the same occupational title earn less money than their male counterpart as well.
The AAUW explains some of it as time out of the office because of motherhood duties and college major choices, but some of the reason women are paid less is flat out discrimination. The study shows 12% of the pay gap cannot be attributed to reasonable excuses such as being away from the office, but instead gender bias and discrimination.
I am not okay with being paid less because our society perpetuates this ideal men are supposed to be the providers of the family as if my husband is still wrestling my dinner away from untamed lions.
I am not okay with writing off $152 a week to masculinity -a term which has a cultural definition I don’t even agree with. It also means women are 15% less respected in the workplace and on the shelf at Barnes & Nobles. It means that women write 15% worse than men, and I can say with the firepower of J.K. Rowling, Gillian Flynn, Harper Lee and Maya Angelou, that is simply untrue. If you believe that, carve your eyes out and bury them six feet deep next to Mary Shelley, because those eyeballs are not taking in the glory of the formulations of those fabulous female authors.
I do not want my nieces growing up in a world where they can work just as hard as a man, and get paid half as much as one. Hell, I don’t want to live in a world where I can work as hard as a man and get paid half as much as one. This inequality causes women to feel insignificant because women do not have the same societal value, and as we now know, monetary value as men. We are shamed because we are moms, shamed because we are outspoken, and shamed because we do not accept inequality. Paying me less is just another example of how society expresses disdain for me as a women.
Until society gets on board with the women’s movement, and treat the gender pay gap as a workplace issue instead of a myth, I’ll keep marching, chanting, blogging, writing and yelling about what frustrates me. HEY HEY! HEY HO! UNEQUAL PAY HAS TO GO!
Be mindful, friends!
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Women’s earnings 83 percent of men’s, but vary by occupation on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/womens-earnings-83-percent-of-mens-but-vary-by-occupation.htm (visited February 02, 2017).
The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap (2017).The American Association of University Women.
Carolita Johnson http://oscarinaland.com/storage/CoverJuly2015.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1436413651402