It’s Equal Pay Day

We had a troll pop by yesterday to whine that women don’t actually get paid less than men, they’re just worth less, which was a good reminder of the injustice; but I mainly take note because my wife is a member of AAUW so of course she took me by the ear and told me I had to remind everyone that women are getting ripped off everywhere, and also that it’s compounded by racial discrimination.

For African-American and Hispanic women, the wage gap is worse, which means it takes even longer for their salaries to "equal" the salaries of their white male counterparts. White men are used as a benchmark because they are the largest demographic group in the labor force. African-American and Hispanic women are paid less than their white and Asian-American peers, even when they have the same educational credentials. Asian-American women’s salaries show the smallest pay gap, at 87 percent of white men’s salaries. Hispanic women’s salaries show the largest gap, at 53 percent of white men’s salaries.

The Democrats have a petition. It wouldn’t hurt to sign, since the Republicans wobble between denying the problem exists and admitting there’s a pay gap, but having no clue about what to do about it.


  1. Trebuchet says

    And the Republicans are screaming bloody murder because Obama has signed some sort of executive order (of which he’s done thousands, according to them) encouraging equal pay.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And the Republicans are screaming bloody murder because Obama has signed some sort of executive order (of which he’s done thousands, according to them) encouraging equal pay.

    One of the measure prohibits banning employees from talking to each other about their wages. Nothing like a little exposure to make management sit up and take notice, if all the women notice they make less than the men working the same positions.

  3. Alverant says

    I was looking over the shoulder of a guy who sat in the seat in front of me on the train this morning. He had the Wall Street Journal open and I saw some of the editorial headlines. There was one about how climate change had “taken over” university campuses and how football players unionizing was a “bad call” and the one in the lower right corner said that the pay gap was a “myth”. Yep, all the usual conservatwit denial of reality.

  4. says

    Fun fact: when racial inequality and gender inequality (and sometimes class inequality) cross paths to form a double serving of inequality fun, it is called intersectionism or intersectionist theory. And it is horrible.

  5. PatrickG says

    I signed the petition.

    Now can I sign a Democratic petition that promises more than lip service to “paycheck fairness”? Can I sign one that doesn’t redirect me to a fundraising page promising that I might win a trip to New York if only I “chip in” to defray the costs of sending someone to New York?

    Thanks for standing with Democrats. Now, want a chance to win a free trip to New York to see Emmy award-winner Bryan Cranston play President Lyndon B. Johnson in “All the Way” on Broadway?

    Your airfare and hotel will be on us, and you’ll join us after the show for a reception with Bryan Cranston and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

    Chip in now and you’ll be automatically entered for your chance to win:

    I don’t think I’ll redirect the money I’m currently contributing to specific candidates and direct services organizations. Even if I have a chance to win!

  6. PatrickG says

    Re-reading my comment, I should note that I’m feeling particularly cynical tonight. Being offered the chance to WIN! A TRIP! TO NEW YORK! if only I gave some money really pissed me off. :P

  7. praestans says

    why du Americans write ‘african-american’ insted’v ‘black’?

    The latter is a nationality, the former a continent. Or do they imply a ‘nativ’ from the american continent and a ‘nativ’ from the african continent got it together?

    what du americans call aborigines from australia?

    I suppose black pepl from minisota ought t be cald e.g. ‘gambian-minisotan’?

    Evalusnraly, we’r all from the african continent..surely

  8. azhael says

    I used to think that the pay gap was a done deal here, barring a few excepcions where the 21st century hadn´t yet kicked some arsehole in the crotch. However the other day my best friend came to visit and we talked about her new job as an engineer. That sparked a conversation about her situation and other female friend´s situations and it turns out (yeah, my bubble just got burst) that this shit is alive and well and rather than being mostly gone except for a few small pockets, it´s the other way around, there are some places where equality has been achieved, everywhere else the pay gap is still a reality. Unsurprisingly, among my female friends the one that has a job where gender really makes no difference is the one that works at a cancer research lab.

  9. robinjohnson says

    I thought Equal Pay Day was in mid-November – the day from which, effectively, women are working for free till the end of the year.
    Then I looked it up, and it turns out today is the day (in the US?) that women would have had to work up to to make as much as men last year. Ick.

    praestans: why du Americans write ‘african-american’ insted’v ‘black’?
    Why do you write unreadable gibberish instead of coherent sentences?

  10. says

    Trying to figure out whether comment #9 is a Poe. Surely noone’s that dim (he says, being keenly aware that many are actually far dimmer)…

  11. Maureen Brian says

    robinjohnson @ 11,

    That’s in the UK where we tend to mark the day in the year after which women are essentially working without pay until 31 December. The Americans do it the other way about. Same problem, slightly different way of highlighting it.

  12. carlie says

    If you live in New York, there is a new organization to try to address the equal pay problem here. They’re looking for guest bloggers too!

  13. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @praestans #9

    1- Learn to spell.
    2- Learn the meaning of words. Since when was black a nationality?

  14. says

    The latest Conservative meme I’ve been seeing is that the White House has a gender gap in payment, but seriously looking at the data I don’t see it. Each job pays the same generally – if there are differences, it’s not due to gender. The only way they possibly could have come up with that is if they just lumped all the jobs together and separated the men from the women.

    Of course, in doing that I also hope they removed the two outliers – one man who makes twice as much as the next highest salaried employees, and two women who are unpaid interns.

  15. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re 9:

    Because. | Reasons. | …
    Seriously, those labels seemed to be Neutral, by not referring to one’s skin shading. Also, they are the labels they themselves seem to prefer over more explicit labels of their skin pigmentation. Also, (also), it tries to preserve one’s continent of family origin combined with one’s current citizenship. (Asian-American, African- American, Irish-Am*, Italian*, European-Am*, etc.).
    Is your complaint that it is too generic a label, too broad a brush to paint someone?
    Or do you just prefer pigmentation labels(e.g. Black, White, Red, Yellow,…)?
    If so: what would you call an albino?

  16. carlie says

    Think that women’s average is less because they take different jobs?

    Look at this collection of data. Partway down the page is a bar graph of women/men salaries in the same job. (titled “Women’s earnings as a percentage of men’s”)

    Some examples:

    Female auditors and accountants make 73.8 percent of what male auditors and accountants make.
    Female elementary and middle school teachers make 81.6 percent of what male elementary and middle school teachers make.
    Female secretaries make 82.8 percent of what male secretaries make.

    Let that last one sink in. What job is the most stereotypically associated with women? Secretary. But even in that one field that is usually solely considered the domain that caters best to the expertise of women, men doing that job make almost 20% more.

    (considered by gender essentialists, I mean.)

  17. moarscienceplz says

    @#21 carlie

    Thanks for providing the link. I really do think it’s important that we compare apples to apples.

    Given these facts, maybe a good first step would be to require all employers to post their starting salaries on any ads for the position. This would only work for fresh out of college hires, but at least young women would have some assurance that they aren’t starting the career race five paces behind their male peers.

  18. gillt says

    apologies for the large block quote, but this is interesting commentary from Obama’s economic advisory Betsey Stevensen:

    Every time the president comes out and says, women should have equal pay for equal work, you have folks, including economists, come out and say, that’s a misleading number, that’s not for the same job, that’s year-round full-time wages, and a big part of it is women’s choices. What’s your response to that, and what’s a good way to understand these numbers?

    When people come out and say that’s not a fair number, well, what really is a fair number? You brought up “women’s choices.” Well, some women’s choices come about because they’re being discriminated against. Some of women’s choices come because they experience sexism. Some of women’s choices come because they are disproportionately balancing the needs of work and family. Which of these choices should we consider legitimate choices, and which of them should we consider things that we have a societal obligation to try to mitigate, to alleviate some of these constraints so that they can make different choices? A lot of people will say things like, let’s control for occupational choices. But the research is showing us that women are choosing occupations which penalize them the least for taking time out of work.

    If there was less discrimination, if there was more flexibility in work, you wouldn’t see women necessarily choosing the same occupations. So why should I take the wage gap holding occupation constant? If we change society, we reduce discrimination, we’re not going to hold occupational choice constant – women are going to choose different occupations.

    I agree that the 77 cents on the dollar is not all due to discrimination. No one is trying to say that it is. But you have to point to some number in order for people to understand the facts. And what it represents is the fact that women on average are put in situations every day that for a variety of reasons mean they earn less. Much of what we need to do to close that gap is to change the constraints that women face. And there are things we haven’t tried.

  19. Rich Woods says

    @Nerd #2:

    One of the measure prohibits banning employees from talking to each other about their wages.

    Why the hell should this measure even be necessary, in The Land Of The Free? Are employers currently allowed to be that autocratic? Is freedom of speech not an acceptable principle if it takes place on someone else’s property?

    If I were discussing wages with my work colleagues and our boss told us we couldn’t talk about that (not that he ever would), he’d receive a resounding chorus of “Fuck off!”. If he were then to drag us off to HR to get them to tell us we were out of line (not that he ever would), I know full well they would be deeply embarrassed and desperate to find a diplomatic solution, while someone took him aside for a quiet chat.

    “A quiet chat” is an English understatement for a bollocking, if that helps.

  20. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Are employers currently allowed to be that autocratic? Is freedom of speech not an acceptable principle if it takes place on someone else’s property?

    Freedom of speech is a phrase only applicable to political speaking. If you represent the company, they can and do tell you what you can and can’t say, no matter where you are. This has included wages, salaries, company financials, complaints, etc.

  21. sundoga says

    Sorry, can’t sign the petition. It’d been created by some Americo-centric asshole who doesn’t understand that not every country in the world uses US Postal Service area codes.

  22. praestans says

    >Twas Brillig

    I appreciate your engagement.

    Sorry fr the spelling – fr some arkane reason, I can’t stand OED etc I think it’s irrational and utterly out’v date. ‘wun’ is a far mor onist spelling than ‘one’.

    Webster had it right when making American spelling simpler in general e.g. no u in parlor. but he got rid’v the rong letter – ‘parlur’ wud’v been better. Morover the words like ‘parlous’, ‘perilous’, ‘anxious’ etc have the same sound as the ‘ou’ in torpor or behaviour.

    I daresay I digress.

    ‘African American’. why not just say ‘American’?

    Where is the prejudice or lack of neutrality in calling the colour of oil ‘black’?

    If ‘black’ referring to a human being (within or without a womb (sorry, cudn’t resist)) with all the attendant things it connotes then so too is labelling a person as ‘african american’. an albino, wud be an…albino.

    You say ‘it preserves one continent’v origin’ -‘Italian-American Irish-american’

    well these are not continents. Aren’t our origins are the stars. then RNA.

    Every human being is African-X, evolutionarily speaking.

    Is a nativ american an amercan-american?

    Frgiv me but this is all codswollup.

  23. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says


    Frgiv me but this is all codswollup.

    Most coherent thing you’ve said so far.

  24. chigau (違う) says

    If you cannot be arsed to use conventional spelling, punctuation and grammar, why should anyone here be arsed to try to understand you?

  25. jefrir says


    I think it’s irrational and utterly out’v date. ‘wun’ is a far mor onist spelling than ‘one’.

    You spell “honest” differently, but not “irrational”? You’re not even consistent with your bullshit.
    You are also tedious and totally off topic. Piss off.

  26. says

    Praestans: your spelling affectations are annoying, and are not offset by the quality of your comments. Knock it off, and note that you’ve given me no reason to want to keep you around…and are working on reasons to warrant ending the irritation of your presence.

  27. says

    Still can’t be sure if praestans is a Poe or not. They’re obtuse to the point of being horizontal and the less said about their childish, narcissistic writing affectations the better. Language does evolve, yes, but what this commenter is doing (and what that sod Webster did) is to unilaterally declare the current state of language Not Good Enough and impose personal, artificial standards on how it should be written. The funny part is that praestans’ phonetic conceits are, like Webster’s, not applied consistently. Might I suggest if you want properly phonetic speech you read the first-person chapters in Iain M Banks’ Feersum Endjinn for tips.

    As for the troll’s point in the OP: “Women are paid less because they’re worth less.” I can’t decide if that’s as stupid or stupider than anything praestans has said so far.

  28. ck says


    Seeking out a perfect phonetic spelling of any particular language is pretty much a fool’s errand anyway. Make a perfect phonetic version of english, and the phonetics will shift in spoken language and your perfection will be broken. “Two” was not always spoken in a way that sounds identical to “too”. What will be accomplished is to make vast amounts of previously written literature largely inaccessible to new generations (it will make the difficulty people have in understanding the language of Shakespeare look trivial).

    As for the original point of the thread:
    Rich Woods wrote:

    Why the hell should this measure even be necessary, in The Land Of The Free? Are employers currently allowed to be that autocratic?

    In many of the jobs I’ve worked (in Canada, not even the U.S.), disclosing your annual salary to a coworker was considered grounds for immediate termination of employment. You see, they keep people from discussing with each other what they make, that way they can pay you far less than what your work is worth. Otherwise, if the employees learn that the boss’s mostly useless nephew is paid 40% more than anyone else in that department, or that the hardest working person in the department is paid less than their peers, there might be “unrest”.