Equal pay requires honest discussions
The gender pay gap, as every right-thinking person knows, is a feminist myth. Those figures you’ve seen about white women earning around 80% of what white men make, and black women earning just 61%, are probably wrong. And if they’re not, then, as many conservatives have pointed out, there are rational explanations for the disparity. Such as the fact that, as Jordan Peterson has explained, women are just more agreeable than men, meaning they don’t ask for more money. Which is a very agreeable explanation if you don’t want to confront structural inequality.
While many on the right insist the gender pay gap doesn’t exist, they also appear keen to block legislation that would strengthen equal pay protection and make it easier for employees to share wage information. Which would appear to be a contradictory position. As congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Wednesday “If ‘the wage gap is a myth’ as some allege, then workplaces should have no problem with workers disclosing our salaries with one another.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet followed a news conference in which she, along with other Democrats, re-introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which strives to close the gender wage gap by giving women tools to challenge unequal pay. For example, it would stop employers retaliating against workers who discuss their salaries with each other. The bill was first introduced in 1997, but has been repeatedly blocked by Republicans.
While the pay gap has narrowed since 1980, not much progress has been made in the last 15 years. Arguably, one reason for this is the lack of transparency around pay. Most of us don’t know how much our colleagues make, which makes it easier for companies to ignore the issue. Indeed, Lean In’s 2018 Black Women’s Equal Pay Survey found that 50% of Americans aren’t aware of pay gap between black and white women, and hiring managers are also ignorant of the disparity.
Talking about how much you make can be difficult but it is important. There’s a lot of power in being transparent about your income and working together with your colleagues to ensure everyone is treated fairly. Last year, for example, the actress Octavia Spencer revealed that Jessica Chastain helped her get five times her salary on a project after realizing that women of colour make far less than white women. Spencer also recently told an audience at the Sundance Film Festival that LeBron James had intervened to get her more pay for her role in a new Netflix series. “I have to say, when I was negotiating my deal for Madam C.J., LeBron James had to intervene,” she said. “We need all our male counterparts to be in the fight with us.”
Knowledge is power and there is more power in numbers. It’s no surprise that some companies remain eager to keep their employees in the dark.
Mariah Carey hits a low with Saudi Arabia performance
On Thursday, Mariah Carey performed in Saudi Arabia alongside DJ Tiesto and Sean Paul. Her appearance generated an enormous backlash amongst activists, who pointed out that the kingdom is using entertainment as a distraction from human rights abuses. Carey’s publicists said that she saw the opportunity to work towards gender desegregation which is a somewhat laughable claim considering the number of Saudi women’s rights activists who have been imprisoned recently. Owen Jones writes about why Mariah was wrong to play here. The sister of Loujain Alhathloul, one of the imprisoned activists, also wrote a piece for CNN about Carey which is well worth reading.
The Pool enters administration
Online women’s magazine The Pool is shuttering. Which is more bad news in a very bad couple of weeks for digital media.
UAE’s very male gender equality awards
Last Sunday the United Arab Emirates held an awards show honouring the people who had advanced gender equality in the country. The winners were all men.
Abracadabra, the patriarchy is toppled!
The International Magicians Society, the world’s largest magic organization, has seen a 35% increase in female membership over the past three years. Similarly, the LA-based Academy of Magical Arts has also seen women in its classes increase from 15% to 50% over the same period. OZY has an interesting piece on how “women are crashing the male-dominated world of magic.” Think all this female magic might spell trouble for men.