Back To The Kitchen

As far as I know, this is the year 2014. That’s some sixty some odd years after the 1950s, the decade where women stayed home to clean the house, have babies, and cook dinner in aprons and dresses for their hard-working husbands. Advertising went from this…

kelloggs-1930s
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…to this, in less than a few decades:

VirginiaSlims9398587f3a9812f423141bc744829a43Apparently, it was all smoke and mirrors, because here we are in 2014, and the pay disparity between men and women is still going strong in America. On average, women earn roughly 77 cents for every dollar their male colleagues earn.

Image from money.cnn.com

Image from money.cnn.com

Some people, mostly male Republicans and federal contractors, are quick to point out that this gap can be explained by education, work experience, women taking time off to have babies and women’s predilection to low-paying jobs, because of course, women choose to work at low-paying jobs. They work harder for less without benefits, not because low-paying jobs are the only kind they can get, but because they enjoy it. Even if you factor in how much women love babies and low-paying jobs, that only accounts for about half of the pay disparity; the rest is plain old-fashioned discrimination.

Can Republicans be any more deluded? Why, yes, they can! I’ll explain how later, but first, more examples of what it’s like to be an American working woman in 2014.

This week, Former CIA Director Michael Hayden called California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s opposition to CIA interrogations “emotional.” In 2014, women’s views, even those of a long-time Senator of the United States, are still perceived as “emotional.” Feinstein, an articulate, experienced Senator, was demeaned because she is a woman. Can you imagine a CIA director summarily dismissing a male colleague’s objection by referring to it as “emotional”? No, because that wouldn’t happen.

Last month, Los Angeles released a report on women in local government. The results were rather shocking. In LA government, women earn an average of 83 cents on the man-dollar. Woo! Female Angelinos are doing better than average! That’s still only 83 cents on the dollar.

The only area in local government where there are more women than men was in administrative services. The remainder of the positions were squarely held by predominantly men. In LA, eighteen elected officials represent nearly four million people; only one of them is a woman. This report only accounts for women in government; I can only imagine how much worse the numbers are in the private sector.

This morning, President Obama signed some executive orders that will make pay disparity between genders more transparent. Government contractor employees can no longer be penalized for discussing salary and salary statistics will become available, so women can really see whether they’re being discriminated against or not. Unfortunately, this only applies to women working for government contractors, but it’s a start.

Now, we circle back to deluded Republican males who are huffing and puffing about how salary transparency puts unfair pressure on employers and that this will produce a wave of lawsuits. We can’t have that! Women suing their employers over gender discrimination? Waaaah! Think of the poor “job creators” who will have to pay women the same as men! Think of the poor, overworked legal system having to dole out justice to hundreds or thousands of women! Think of the children!

From The Simpsons. You should be ashamed if you didn't know that already.

From The Simpsons. You should be ashamed if you didn’t know that already.

Really, Republicans? How can you possibly argue against wage equality without coming off like the misogynist jerks you seem to be? You’re honestly going to claim that the gender gap isn’t all that bad because babies? You’re going to fight salary transparency because you are worried about a rash of lady lawsuits for unfair business practices? Do you have any idea how evil, outdated and bigoted that makes you sound? Good luck with that, assholes. You’d be better off arguing in favor of kitten genocide. At least half the population of the country isn’t kittens and kittens can’t vote. I will never understand how any woman could ever vote Republican.

Why, Republicans? WHY?!

Why, Republicans? WHY?!

That said, the Democrats’ motive for a push on paycheck equality is hardly pure. They’re rather transparently promoting The Paycheck Fairness Act again in order to boost the female vote in the next election. Even the White House is not innocent of pay disparity. Female employees of the Obama White House earn about 91 cents per man-dollar–better than Los Angeles, better than average, but still less than 100%. Do we really need a Presidential proclamation of National Equal Pay Day? How about just equal pay?

This is not a made-up problem. This is a real problem with real data and it affects all of us, even those of you with penises. This impacts your coworkers, mothers, wives, daughters and friends. Do you really want to live in a world where men have more opportunities and women are worth less than men?

For every dollar a man earns for the same work, I am earning less. When I was a kid, I expected more from the future than this. I am goddamn tired of pompous men having a say over my reproductive rights and benefits, and even my salary. I am not worth less because I am a woman.

It seems that the only place where women are entirely equal to men is in the voting booth. Our vote counts just as much as any man’s. I say it’s about time that women started using this power to make a real difference before they take voting rights away from us, too.

There are 29 comments

  1. Mental Mama

    That’s one of the nice things about working for the state like I do – those fuckers have to PUBLISH FOR THE PUBLIC a document that lists everyone who works here and what their salary is. So I know precisely how much each of my cow-orkers makes and how ridiculously unfair it is what I make in comparison, regardless of the fact that I am every bit as educated AND that my education is way more relevant than most of theirs.

    Like

  2. donofalltrades

    I’d like to be an overpaid man someday and I wish my wife made more than she does where she works, because she totally should. In MO, salaries of all public agency employees are open records. At the police department, promotions are the only way to get a real raise, and those are doled out based on who can blackmail who or who is related to who…it’s quite infuriating. Lol. Oh well though, let’s keep up the good fight. Hope you’ve been well.

    Like

    1. goldfish

      Thanks, Don. Even where there is salary transparency, e.g. government jobs, it doesn’t really seem to make much difference. Women still make less than men. In LA, according to that report I linked, only 19% of all police officers are women. The fire dept. is even worse with 2%.

      Like

  3. swo8

    I’m back in the kitchen because I like to eat good food. I’ve turned into a pretty good cook. But it doesn’t surprise me that women are still getting the short end in the pay check.
    Leslie

    Like

      1. kraftycatcreations

        I’m right up there with runningonsober. All the female members of my family rant on these items quite regularly. Especially when some Republican makes another public “right”-handed remark. Yeah – I also wonder how any woman can vote for team tea-potty.

        Great blog!

        Like

      1. M-R

        Impressive, eh ?
        I can do MUCH BETTER than that on this ‘government'; but I shan’t make your eyes pop any further. You haven’t been bad enough.

        Like

          1. M-R

            And will continue to do so long after you and I have gone (well, me first, I admit) … It won’t be until women have increased their numbers stealthily, somehow or other, that anything will change.
            Oh ! I forgot ! – LOOK AT DENMARK ! – and in fact a lot of Scandinavia. A completely different ballgame …

            Like

      1. M-R

        Our wonderful Australian PM ? – he and his entire cabinet are a bunch of extreme right-wing conservatives (read nednecks) and are in the process of removing every protection that exists for the little people. Their motto is “business is always right !”.They are utterly terrifying.

        Like

  4. Doobster418

    A very provocative post, Goldfish. You inspired me to write my own post on this topic but with a slightly different perspective. What can I say? I have a penis. I’ll post it sometime tomorrow morning on my blog. Take a look. I’ll be very interested in your comments.

    Like

      1. Doobster418

        It’s posted. Go take a look and let me know what you think. And keep in mind that this is my personal perspective, not necessarily representative of the “male perspective,” on average.

        Like

  5. List of X

    I agree with Doobster on improper use of averages. While I agree that women should be paid the same for the same job if they have similar experience, hours, and work quality, I still cringe when I see “women make 77 cents on average than men” – because while it’s factually true on the surface (actually, 81%), it’s comparing apples and oranges.
    And there’s plenty of cleaner data to prove the pay discrimination – for example, the Wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male%E2%80%93female_income_disparity_in_the_United_States) lists whole industries that are, already controlled for education and hours, pay women much less than than 77%. Those industries would probably get blown up by lawsuits if they even start publishing the salary data – and I think it’s a good first step.

    Like

    1. goldfish

      Whether it’s 77, 81 or even 99.9, it doesn’t matter. If it’s not 100, it’s not good enough.

      If it’s the same job and the people doing it have the same work experience, I see absolutely no reason why women shouldn’t sue the hell out of their employers for being paid less.

      Like

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