Ladies, Do You Feel Like You Aren't Fairly Paid? Chances Are, You Aren't...
From the latest gender inequality story of the day comes this exciting blurb from Bloomberg. “Last year, of the five best-paid executives at each of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies, 198 were women, or 8 percent of the total. Those high-achievers on average earned $5.3 million, 18 percent less than men.” Women still make staggeringly less than men and no, they are still not breaking the glass ceiling.
What would be an even more compelling statistic? Randomly polling the population to determine how many of us actually realize that a gender pay gap still exists. Unfortunately, the truth is that many still deny this fact. By way of the availability heuristic methods, I used to think that gender inequality in the workplace was common knowledge. In reality, we still have an uphill battle.
Steve Tobak, a respected Silicon Valley consultant and author of this Fox Business blog post, flat out denies the pay gap’s existence. He even throws in some misogynist gems like, "a lot of board rooms still resemble good old boys clubs" and "women still have all the babies and still do most of the child rearing and housework in America." Tobak argues that the gap is a myth because "women have different priorities than men do.
They tend to value factors like job security, workplace safety, flexible hours, and work conditions much higher than they value compensation." Right, Steve. The reason women get paid less is because we value our free morning coffee and plastic utensils over bonuses and salary raises. Gimme a break! (HUGE side note: I actually just did some major Googling of our controversial cat, Tobak, and turns out -- against my own assumptions -- the douche is actually married! Huh? But, I digress…)
Now that we’re all sufficiently hot and bothered by Mr. Tobak’s ludicrous reasoning, here’s a little rebuttal for ya! The Institute for Women's Policy Research found that women earn less than men do even in the same occupations. It's not about women choosing to work less or favoring specific positions; it’s a direct comparison between women and men, and men are still winning. The Huffington Post provides additional concrete evidence that women in fact (and as we’ve been arguing all along) do earn less than men do. Take that in your pipe and smoke it, Mr. Bigglesworth!
In fact, the issue of Americans still not recognizing gender inequality's existence is so important to our administration that there’s a fancy page on the White House government website explicitly titled, “Did You Know That Women Are Still Paid Less Than Men?.”
So now that we have all this information, what exactly are we to do with it? For one thing, spread the knowledge. Inform your female and male friends alike. We're the newbies in the workplace, but we're also speeding up the ladder. We have the power to eventually call the shots and turn the tables. Our generation has the capacity to be pioneers on the gender equality front. And, as continually more progressive human beings than those of previous generations, we can make this happen, for real.
In addition to conducting annual studies on exactly how much less we make than males (why beat a dead horse?), we need to enlighten our peers that this discrepancy is real. Progress comes from revealing the issue and attracting supporters to our side. Bloomberg’s statistic is only a first step.