NOTE: Dear Men: was originally published on my Google+ blog, and I have chosen to import it here because of its relevance to the #MeToo movement.
I’ve been blogging on G+ since the second week of its existence, and from the very beginning I’ve felt welcomed by men on this platform. This was eye-opening, because, as a writer of literary nonfiction, some of which explores social, cultural and political issues that affect the lives of women (in which I’m naturally interested since my father died when I was young and my mother became a working mom within 24 hours), I had always been warned to stay away from anything on social media that could ignite the dreaded fear of feminism – you know, all that ooga booga booga about politics and religion at the dinner table.
Stay away, for instance, from raising the issue that it’s 2014, but women still make, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns.
But G+ is a long table at which interesting people talk about things that are important to them, and I have had the continual pleasure of meeting scores of men here who are just as concerned about and interested in issues that effect women as they are in issues that affect men…primarily, I assume, because they know that life cannot be harmonious, happy and healthy when major issues throw life out of serious balance for one of the two human genders walking Mother Earth.
These men have mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and daughters about whom they care and their concern for their well being is evident when I post about how education, employment opportunities, healthcare, and religious and cultural beliefs that affect the women they love. Often the most interesting conversation comes from men who are concerned that women are still fighting for equality.
So…consider this my open letter to you men, some of whom are married to women in the work force, some of whom are fathers to daughters going through school and dreaming about what they want to be when they grow up, some of whom are brothers to women who have decided to take a risk and start their own businesses after years of working for someone else, some of whom may have been, like me, the child of a working mother and who watched her struggle to get a raise, who watched her have to pay higher interest rates for her mortgage, her car loan and her credit cards – because she was a credit risk – some of whom may witness on a day-to-day basis something that makes life less than equal for the women in your workplace.
You might be aware of a woman who is absolutely qualified for a promotion and she needs a champion. You could be that champion. You might be aware that a woman is not getting paid what she should be paid, and you could speak up on her behalf. You might work with a woman whose title does not befit her actual role, and you could help her shape her argument for one that does reflect her contribution. You may know a woman who could use a mentor in your organization. You could be that mentor.
When I was growing up I watched as my older brother was essentially surrounded by older male mentors, who brought him into their businesses, who mentored him, who coached him, who were there for him after our father died. This is often not the case for young women, because even though the work force is now growing with the talents of women, those women are still working in less skilled positions, rather than in high level management positions where they can act as mentors to emerging women.
I was captivated before the Winter Olympics by the story of Jessica Jerome, who told her father when she was in second grade that she wanted to be a ski jumper, and his initial reaction was that he didn’t want his daughter getting hurt. But her ambition, her talent and her perseverance eventually won him over and her father, Peter, ultimately became her champion, spending ten years fighting for the right for women to compete as ski jumpers in the Olympics.
I was particularly interested in this story because Peter Jerome is a pilot for Delta, and aviation is yet another field where there are few women (only 6%). As a general aviation private pilot, every week I find myself asking, “Where are the women pilots?”
I don’t blame Peter Jerome for not getting actively involved championing something that affects women until he was confronted with having to help his own daughter. I don’t blame him because I think that Father/Son bond and mentorship is something that women have not had access to because not every mother works outside of the home, or wants to work outside of the home, and that is a choice I respect.
But…for the young woman who does need that mentorship, step out, won’t you? And help us change the sad fact that in 2014 women still only make .77cents on each dollar that a man earns.
Think about what it would mean for the emotional and psychological health of boys and girls raised together if they knew their work “worth” were equally valued. If your daughters could dream as big as your sons. If the challenges that face your wives and daughters only relate to their willingness to roll up their sleeves and work hard, but not to some invisible ceiling above which they will never be allowed to climb, the stratosphere in which the pay is stellar.
Think about what our economy would be like if men and women worked toward the same goal of parity and mutual respect.
Think about the things that are hard to imagine: how such parity would affect peace, economic growth, our individual and collective physical health. Think about the businesses that would be created.
Think about what it would be like to live and work in a country where women and men make equal pay for equal work.
Think about the smiles on the faces of your wives. Think about how it will shift the conversations you will have with your daughters about their futures. Think about how it will shift virtually…everything!
For good order’s sake, below is the link to the most recent article about this issue, which inspired this post:
April 8, 2014 at 4:35 pm
An interesting anecdote from my career – some years ago I was doing the lighting designs for a corporate presentation at the Javits convention center in NYC and hired a female lighting control programmer to run the event. I hired her because I had worked with her before and knew she was the most qualified for the job. The union crew at the venue were giving me sass because they didnt want a female taking a job away from one of their male workers. I informed them that a) she was union and b) she had skills that they didn’t have and c) if they prevented her from working I would shut the event down thereby putting all of them out of work. I won the argument.
April 8, 2014 at 4:37 pm
‘Swhat I’m talking about stuart richman! Bless you. Leading by example and putting your foot down. Sometimes I think the action comes long, long, long before the Ah Ha moment that any of those gentlemen who gave you sass will have. But how long it takes people to wake up should never stop someone from getting out the smelling salts! Thanks for the comment stuart richman.
April 8, 2014 at 4:47 pm
Great post, Giselle Minoli and thank you! I just grew tired of working incredibly hard for my chance to shine while being passed by. 🙁 Still working hard for my opportunity to work hard – some call me stubborn; I rephrase it as determination and perseverance.
April 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm
Thanks Jennifer Tackman. I admit a part of me wanted to shout out to all you amazing women out there but when I started to pull up the names just doing that would have taken me forever and I got worried about leaving people out. Ah me, Jennifer…I have never been a circle management whiz…
April 8, 2014 at 4:51 pm
🙂 There truly are amazing men and women here. I loved the suggestions you gave to men (but also to women) to step out and do something if someone deserves more. (You stated it much more eloquently).
April 8, 2014 at 4:58 pm
This fight is just one step toward equality for all, very important. Thanks for fighting it.
April 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm
Giselle Minoli, while sexism remains far too common, the 77 cents myth is just that: a myth, propped up by a poor application of statistics.
I believe in and support the fight for equality for all, across all fronts, but it helps to be working with good data so we know where our focus should be.
April 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm
In my area of IT (A/V integration) there just aren’t any women that apply, I honestly don’t understand why this still is an issue? Who cares I want someone that will challenge my ideas and help make them a stronger solution. As a Father of a little girl I hope that nothing stands in her way, else I’m going to have to bust some heads!
To play devils advocate, I feel sometimes for a man it’s can be intimidating because most men see women as potential mates (not to turn that statement into a Nat Geo wilderness show) and worry about developing feelings. Sure being faithful is the goal but it is statistical proven you spend more time with co-workers than family.
Done being the bad guy with that statement but still it isn’t a valid reason not to pay the same. Enough Rambling on!
April 8, 2014 at 5:03 pm
Hi, Will Hahn not so crazy about the stats either because depending on the article they are always skewed to some political purpose, which irritates me, when the fact itself hasn’t shifted in quite some time. I appreciate your comment, and although I get your point about the significant shift since the 60s, I’m not sure it’s wholly relevant. There is always the assumption that “experience” drives pay, but it isn’t so. When I was 23 and had been hired at CBS Records to be a Director, I thought I was making a fortune (this was eons ago) at $30k a year…until I found out that the man who had been fired so I could replace him was making nearly 3x that amount and he was terrible at that job. The truth is that there are wives/mothers who can jump out of the kitchen and behind the desk and just run things brilliantly. They start, however, with a “starting” salary and, sad to say, the icecap on Greenland will regrow before she’s given a decent raise. That is a far worse issue IMHO.
April 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm
Giselle Minoli granted my experience coming from a theatre background is different because the unions set the pay scale based not on gender but on skill level and what contract you are working under ie: broadway, off broadway, touring, etcetera but having said that i always tried to hire female lighting techs when possible because aside from the fact that they were more pleasant to be around (yet could curse like a sailor when required LOL ) they were simply better at doing the job – partly because of hand eye coordination or the fact that historically females make better lighting designers or perhaps because of the fact that they knew they had to do the job better to get ahead so they wouldnt have to put up with sass from male coworkers or a combination of all of the above – how much of my hiring/mentoring preferences were influenced from growing up with a working mother i do not know – bottom line for me was and is always that it is the results of how well the job is done that matter and should matter and not the gender of the person doing the work – but thats just me and i admit my experiences in the workforce or not typical.
April 8, 2014 at 5:11 pm
For most of my adult life I’ve either been employed by women or supervised by them. I’ve had about half of the women I’ve lived with make more money than I have. I hope someday soon to vote for a presidential candidate who just happens to be female.
April 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm
Chris Jenkins the American Enterprise Institute is a conservative think tank that hates dealing with the realities like this. Unless someone has actually worked in an organization with two people doing the same job – one a man and one a woman – and had the firsthand experience of knowing they were paid differently, they will continue to treat this as a myth because it is convenient. It is not in fact a myth. We can nickel and dime one another about whether it’s 77 cents or 88 cents or whatever. That misses the entire point of the article I’m afraid.
April 8, 2014 at 5:16 pm
I marvel that this is still the case since women control HR departments in nearly every case…..
I suspect that women hire women for less because they know that they will accept less, which means HR can hire more bodies for less and or operate a dept. with more budget tolerance.
No dog in this hunt, except I think that women SHOULD PAY themselves as much money as men.
April 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm
Well, ted kelly very soon you are going to get your chance to cast that vote. Because it is issues like this one that are going to influence our forthcoming major elections. We should be spending our collective time together, as men and women, solving our problems shoulder-to-shoulder, because many of them are so serious that they need a shoulder-to-shoulder approach. The wheels of change turn very slowly…until…suddenly theres a down slope and a bit of momentum builds. And that is where we are at in time at this moment.
April 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm
Another angle on this problem that I saw while at Microsoft was what happens to women who show signs that they might be considering motherhood. There is a very subtle exclusion from consideration for big jobs that can happen in these situations because firms don’t want to make investments in people who might soon leave after experiencing the reality of what motherhood means to them (this happens for fathers too by the way). Sometimes too, it’s because the firm’s management believes it will no longer have the undivided attention of mothers-to-be. Sometimes it’s because firms are unwilling to show flexibility on time in the office. There are lots of potential explanations, but the reality I saw was a company that lost a great deal of talent through its inability to deal with this very important, perhaps most important aspect of our lives.
Excellent post, by the way, Giselle Minoli.
April 8, 2014 at 5:28 pm
I always appreciate your writing Giselle Minoli and I’m all for equal rights and equal pay. I’m marking this for a careful read this evening.
April 8, 2014 at 5:37 pm
Giselle Minoli, Hanna Rosin of DoubleX confirms, and pretty much every single empirical study also confirms that the actual number is around 98%, within the margin of error:
And I’m really not missing the point at all, I’m suggesting that basing positive change for the better on poor statistics is a poor way to start. There ARE systemic issues with our system which drive certain disparities; the over reliance and/or expectation on women to be the family caretaker without affording fathers the same opportunity (I took hell for taking an extended family leave after my son was born), the ongoing socialization of certain roles along gender lines, aggressively combating the forces of sexism in our every day lives.
The point is, when you as part of your summary make this statement:
“Think about what it would be like to live and work in a country where women and men make equal pay for equal work.”
…then you’re not addressing the real issues. Women as a whole ARE paid equally for equal work, and in some cases being paid more:
The greater issue is that there is not equality in opportunity. While pay disparities all but disappear when comparing men and women working the exact same jobs and hours with the same experience and education, the fact remains that there is still a major disparity in what roles women are actually hired for.
Which was my whole point. There IS an inequality to be fixed here, but it’s not in dollars per hour. It’s in overall opportunity, which is where the focus needs to be.
April 8, 2014 at 5:38 pm
Gideon Rosenblatt, nailed it in one:
“There is a very subtle exclusion from consideration for big jobs that can happen in these situations because firms don’t want to make investments in people who might soon leave after experiencing the reality of what motherhood means to them (this happens for fathers too by the way).”
THIS is where the problem lies, and scenarios like it. Hiring choices are where inequality is most evident.
April 8, 2014 at 6:12 pm
Gideon Rosenblatt I hear that as well, and here are all of my problems and issues with it, because I personally believe that that belief system just underscores another, and rather insidious in my view, aspect of gender discrimination, to wit – when organization hire men and invest years and years training them and moving them up the ladder there is no guarantee whatsoever that those men will stay with that organization and keep the knowledge that they have gleaned “at home” so to speak, in the arms of the organization that trained them.
I have been working for a long, long time and I have seen men shoot up the ladder only to grab the title they needed for their resumes and split for a better higher paying gig. There is no better a guarantee that a man will stay with a company that hires him than a woman who may decide to have a child.
The fact of the matter is that if this less than honest excuse for not promoting women were removed from the table, and women were made equal players, the chance that they would be able to figure out a way to work and be mothers at the same time would increase, not decrease.
Women leave the workplace not because they have become mothers, which employers often evoke as the excuse/reason. They leave because a) the low salaries they are making do not justify completely missing out on their children’s evolution, b) because their lesser salaries do not pay for the childcare that they need while they are working, c) because of the pressures put upon them in the workplace and at home, where, still, women return after long hours at work to their second jobs of being the laundress, cook, shopper, housekeeper, etc.
Men can stay late at the office at night because traditionally they have had someone at home when the children come home, their wife does the shopping, and chauffeuring, etc.
But if men really want parity, then they have to start changing the culture from the inside Gideon Rosenblatt. Men are being pressured too, in ways that are equally horrendous. It seems not to matter to many organizations whether a man ever sees his children or his wife, that the game that is being played is that it is work around the clock. And men do it because they are afraid, they have been taught, they have been trained, to believe that there will be someone else (younger) who will be there to take their job if they have a private life.
The entire thing is upside down and on its head.
April 8, 2014 at 6:19 pm
Mycroft Holmes I’m with you there. Women do represent HR departments in great part and I think there is often tremendous fear among women in HR positions when confronted by women who go in their doors asking for things that they themselves have never asked for or thought possible (for their own lives). When I was at CBS and I confronted the HR head (a woman) with what I had discovered about my low pay relative to my (male) predecessor, she told me that I should keep my mouth shut if I wanted to keep my job.
I wrote an essay entitled A Woman’s De-Liberation: There Never Was a Sexual Revolution for the Journal for Social Era Knowldege, which you can read here if you are interested: http://www.synaptiqplus.com/journal/journal_-articles/issue-2/a-woman-s-de-liberation-there-never-was-a-sexual-revolution
Pinging Meg Tufano!
April 8, 2014 at 6:32 pm
Thank you ALL very much indeed for your kind re-shares of this post and for your supportive +1s and comments. It matters and it makes a difference.
April 8, 2014 at 6:44 pm
Well, Ev Eric I would say that what is awesome about that young woman is not that she can fly a helicopter, but that she undertook to learn to do something in a sector of interest with so few opportunities but chose to do it anyway. This is supposed to be what we are honoring, what we champion…taking initiative, following one’s passions, do what we are good at doing. But, yes, where I fly? The people who answer the phones and work the computers are women, some of whom are also pilots who do not fly anymore.
April 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm
My guess is that there are still glaring discrepancies in pay, depending on type of work, region, etc. However, based on the above links I am comfortable with the notion that it happens infrequently a sort of one-off basis. 98% truly is close enough for gubment work and is likely within the realm of measuring error.
It is more likely that opportunities for the jobs are missing as someone said above.
Incidentally, add race to the mix and watch the fireworks fly.
April 8, 2014 at 7:23 pm
Wonderful post and so timely. I am not sure I agree that many men are in sympathy. Are so many really? If so why are we still so very discriminated against?
Is it subconscious discrimination? Much discrimination is hidden. You can apply all you like for the jobs – but you won’t get them. You can complain all you like but you will be called bitter or bitchy behind your back.
I have been at meetings where women in power positions are openly rated on a kind of strident scale – ‘she’s not too strident or she’s very strident.;
I have been ignored at meetings only to have my suggestions rephrased and repeated by a man whose ‘contribution’ to the meeting is praised.
I was recently told by a representative from our national broadcaster.that ‘women usually work in the production side of things’ or they ‘write for soaps.’
I could go on but I won’t because I could write a book but I prefer writing about other things – things that don’t make me feel ‘strident.’
April 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm
grace jolliffe living in arizona I find a great deal of sub rosa racial discrimination… hard to find clients in my field due to my being Asian.
So I feel ya. Just keep fighting the good fight. You’ll get the opportunities you are supposed to get.. karmically speaking.
Do well, be well, and keep the faith!!
April 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Chris Jenkins _every_ empirical study? Seriously..not:
There is neither equality in opportunity, nor equality in the amount of money that women are paid for jobs that are similar to those of men. At a significant number of companies, employees are not allowed to discuss their salaries with one another so that, in fact, it become impossible to benchmark them so that unfairness is built out of the system.
If you read the article, quite aside from arguing what the percentage is exactly, there are other equally serious issues, such as the one that Gideon Rosenblatt mentioned, which is an unfair targeting of women for their “future” plans. Men have future plans, too and are not punished for them. If you add all of the factors together, which is the more salient and meaningful thing to do – women working in lower paid positions, women having to fight to get back into the workplace after raising a family, women being punished for having families, women leaving work because of the complexities of work/life balance, on the whole the community of working women is not keeping pace with the community of working men.
Several years ago my sister-in-law who is a doctor showed me a study of the salaries for female doctors within private practice. Female doctors working within the same specialty in the same office very often made an average of $17,000 less per year than a man. Over a woman’s lifetime, this represents a significant life saving’s account, a child’s college education, a mortgage.
April 8, 2014 at 7:33 pm
Mycroft Holmes Ah double trouble, well if there is any truth in the idea of Karma we’ll be laughing! I’m busy finding a new and more independent way of working, I hope you are too! Mind yourself out there!
April 8, 2014 at 7:34 pm
First let me say this is an excellent post. Well written and inspiring. I am a brother to a woman who has been separated from her ex-husband since their kids where hardly teens, now they are all adults in college or working. She has always been the one who I go to when I need to talk to someone about my problems and is always willing to listen and give great advise. I love her to death. I am a son too to a woman who had to work her butt off to provide for her 3 kids while my dad spent his time drinking and kicking back because he thought he had enough money saved and decided to be an ass. She gave me everything I needed to the best of her abilities even going as far as making a pact with God that if he allowed me to live (I was born sick, doctors gave me weeks to live) that she would dedicate her life to taking care of me. To this date she still worries about me and is always there for me. But these days I’m the one having to give to her since she was never able to get a highschool education and was never able to collect SS (did get enough points) and now is dependent on the Gov’t and the little her 3 children can give her.
I was raised to have a huge respect for women and I still do to this date. I have always treated all the ladies in my life as queens, as equals. Except maybe when it comes to eating because I can eat like a a black hole can swallow planets. Have yet to meet a woman who can match me. :+D
I have always been a fan of smart, intelligent, self-sufficient, strong women because while I love opening doors for them, imagine myself coming to their rescue in my dreams and seeing how a dress look so much better on them; I still see them as equals, my better half, the ying to our yang. Besides, the bible may say women came from the ribs of man, but last I checked I came from inside my mama. My dad did nothing more than provide the other half of the equation and had some fun doing it too but didn’t have to suffer the 9 months that followed. My mo may not look like she is strong, smart or even capable, but as far as I am concerned she is Wonder Woman, Amelia Erhard and Marissa Mayer all rolled into one.
April 8, 2014 at 7:40 pm
Glenn Dixon that is awesome. I, too, have been very fortunate in my life. But I would never pretend or assume that my good fortune is every woman’s good fortune. It simply is not. I really wrote this post for women who are dealing with this issue in their lives, whose numbers far outweigh the ones who have never had to deal with such inequality.
April 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm
As noted in The Daily Beast, certainly no conservative publication, “The 23-cent gender pay gap is simply the difference between the average earnings of all men and women working full-time. It does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. When all these relevant factors are taken into consideration, the wage gap narrows to about five cents.”
The St. Louis Federal Reserve expanded on this point and argued that:
Women are likely to work fewer hours than men, which would make a gap in weekly earnings between the two groups substantial even if their hourly wages are the same. For this reason, most economic studies of a gender gap, including all of the studies reviewed in this article, use hourly wages instead of weekly earnings as a measure. Second, many other factors (such as education and labor force attachment) could affect wages. Research suggests that the actual gender wage gap (when female workers are compared with male workers who have similar characteristics) is much lower than the raw wage gap.
Even the Politifact website rated a Barack Obama campaign ad claiming that “women are paid 77 cents” as “mostly false.” Their reasoning:
The 77-cent figure compares all male and female workers, regardless of their occupation. Whether due to a history of discrimination or because of personal choice, women and men are disproportionately represented in certain jobs. For example, women dominate the ranks of receptionists, nurses, and elementary and middle-school teachers, among other fields. Men are disproportionately truck drivers, managers and computer software engineers.
April 8, 2014 at 7:48 pm
🙂 No, but pretty much. The key factor is determining what, if any, role discrimination plays in basic compensation packages.
From your link:
“But for young women, the wage gap is even smaller – at 93 percent – meaning they caught up to their same-aged male counterparts by roughly the last week in January of this year.”
“In spite of its narrowing, the gender pay gap persists. Why is this? In our survey, women were more likely to say they had taken career interruptions to care for their family. And research has shown that these types of interruptions can have an impact on long-term earnings.”
“Even though women have increased their presence in higher-paying jobs traditionally dominated by men, such as professional and managerial positions, women as a whole continue to work in lower-paying occupations than men do. And some part of the pay gap may also be due to gender discrimination –women are about twice as likely as men to say they had been discriminated against at work because of their gender (18% vs. 10%).”
They note that in some places even the mathematical gap is smaller (93%), attribute much of that gap to choices on the part of the worker, and allow that there’s a possibility that discrimination makes up some portion of it.
And that’s my point. There’s just nowhere that the 77% number is good, or even close to good, and it’s a bad place to start what is otherwise an amazing post both illustrating some of the very real issues, and making some very good suggestions. I hope that I am a champion for all of the women in my life on these issues, and believe they’re important not from a bad number that can be hand waved away, but from some very easily observable numbers like:
Women currently hold 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and 4.6 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions.
April 8, 2014 at 7:50 pm
Tony Bucharest and Chris Jenkins I’m delighted because I will make another post entitled “Well, women don’t have as many opportunities as men…because…well, they get married and have babies, and can’t commit to sleeping at their desks, and can therefore only work part time in lower paid jobs that are often menial…because women aren’t as important as men…” 😉
You forget that many, many, many people, employers and organizations are finding it very nice not to have to promote women, give them equal opportunities or make it possible for them to have work/life balance. It’s profitable not to do that.
April 8, 2014 at 7:55 pm
The root cause of this issue is mythology. Most people are brainwashed into religion by their parents, predominantly the mother.
The cure to equal rights and pay for women is for us to stop teaching Jesus the Fake, Mohammed the Pedo, Allah the Atroicious, God the goddamnable and any other dark age nonsense to our children.
April 8, 2014 at 7:56 pm
laughing Sarcasm aside, the cultural divide is crossed by recognizing the causes, rather than the symptoms, and recognizing that it affects people on both sides. Men and women should be equally encouraged to take time off to attend to child birth, and that should never be a deciding factor in hiring and promotion choices. We see in other countries that this is handled very gracefully, and immediately offsets a large part of that argument. When both parents are expected to take time off for a child, neither can be penalized for a pregnancy.
And that’s just one part of the equation. Deconstructing the enforcement of gender based roles in education from the very beginning is an important part of the process. Policing our own parenting, to be sure we’re not subconsciously passing on outdated messages, plays a role. Acting as champions, as you’ve so eloquently noted, plays a role.
But of course, if you’re saying that’s all too wordy to make a good sound bite, then stick with the 77 cents thing. 😀
April 8, 2014 at 7:57 pm
Great post Giselle Minoli. This is a challenge which is important to talk about. This is also relevant when it comes to salary within professions where education is one of the criterias in order to be qualified for a job…. Certain jobs which require a degree, is “valued” lower if it is a work where women is a majority. For example work within the health care and the social sector which require a bachelor/master degree vs. Other work in male dominated sectors which requires a bachelor/master degree…
So equal pay for equal education is also important. :O)
April 8, 2014 at 7:59 pm
Excellent post Giselle Minoli! Thanks for writing! I’ve told this story before, so sorry if it sounds old. When I entered the PhD program (medical science field) at school I had a small but reasonable number of women friends on the journey with me. Over the eight years of post-graduate work, I lost all but one to attrition. Some left to get married and have babies. Some left to get “real” jobs and support their husband’s ambitions of further graduate work. Other’s just found the lack of support too difficult to cope with.
I was extremely fortunate to have men who supported my decisions (like a male thesis advisor and a male research partner). I was sad to see my friends leave and give up on their dreams.
April 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm
I so wish those women that continue to complain about equality would just stop and focus on appreciating what they have and celebrating who they are. I have three strong sisters and there has been no discernible way in which they’ve had any less opportunity or any more hardship than the men I know.
April 8, 2014 at 8:02 pm
Great post, Giselle Minoli and a great conversation too. I wanted to add a few comments, but I see most points have already been made 🙂
April 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm
The prevailing view is that formal barriers to equality should not exist, and when they are removed the feminist’s job is done. If a woman wants to be a CEO, airline pilot, etc. she can. This ignores that the costs of motherhood fall lopsidedly on women, or society assumes that they will. To achieve equality, impose equal costs on men. Require CEOs, pilots, Wall street traders, and Googlers to take career breaks and spend time with their children. If they don’t have children give them breaks at age 40. See what that does for equality.
April 8, 2014 at 8:06 pm
Keep up the good fight, Giselle. As Vince Lombardi learned, sometimes winning is ‘everything’.
April 8, 2014 at 8:09 pm
Great article, Giselle. I agree completely with your core point – sponsorship, effective mentoring and support matter a lot to individual outcomes. If you are in a position of power and authority – and if you’re a parent (or an executive) you are in that position! – you can make a real, positive difference simply by making conscious and objective, rather than unconscious and biased, choices about how you support, mentor, sponsor, and champion those around you.
April 8, 2014 at 8:10 pm
Di Cleverly I am trying but just don’t see why it matters that particular programs have equal gender representation as long as women or men can enter any program they wish to (and are qualified to). There are I guess less women in medicine, but there’s no road block – in fact, truth be known, it is probably more likely to be admitted to med school or other PHD programs if you are female. My sister is an OBGYN, a great doctor and making piles of money. Nobody discouraged or blocked her along the way. Why do you want the genders to be the same. The world would be a horrible and boring place if that became so.
April 8, 2014 at 8:22 pm
Thank you for this, Giselle Minoli. Our firstborn is 18 and has set her sights on police school with dreams of making it to Special Ops, for which she may not even be tall enough or heavy enough. Despite our worries for her safety, her father and I are right behind her, with a fist pump, a lump in our throats, and a prayer. We can’t imagine doing anything else for a child who spent her youth nursing injured hedgehogs better and standing up to bullies because she looked and thought different from everyone else.
April 8, 2014 at 8:25 pm
Meg L – how absolutely wonderful 🙂
April 8, 2014 at 8:27 pm
In the 1960’s I was one of the first female ranger-naturalists in the National Park Service, in Yosemite. I was not there as a crusader, but neither did I know at the time that I was only hired because of a congressional affirmative action mandate. We proved ourselves and within just a couple of years the male/female ratio was balanced. So far as I know, the salaries were based on seniority.
This is the factor that I never see raised to explain/justify the salary disparity which is always the first “evidence” waved in such articles (maybe one of the posts above deals with it–I don’t know because I didn’t read them all). Namely this: women often spend part of their adulthood bearing and raising children, a commitment which reduces their employment history compared to men who start and continuously maintain careers right out of high school or college. In other words, since women’s resumes are often shorter and/or less continuous than men’s, we often are not qualified for higher levels on the salary scale.
There is nothing unfair about that.
April 8, 2014 at 8:28 pm
Gita Jaisinghani Thank you. I think so too, even though I have sleepless nights thinking about it.
April 8, 2014 at 8:30 pm
Meg L – all the more reason that all 3 of you deserve kudos.
April 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm
S Dequer very well said. It is not societies problem that certain women don’t value motherhood as being an adequate tradeoff and worth risking a lower salary or shorter professional tenure. Nature has provided that women must make some choices and prioritize. That said, some are able to have almost all. My sister and her husband are both surgeons, and they had two children. The trade off – children had to grow up and be party raised by a nanny.
April 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm
The solution to all this, I think, is to think as a team with your spouse and not as an individual feminist, focused on how equal things are. If your a team, a marriage, then higher rewards for him is higher rewards for her. and vice verse. My parents have always been a team of one couple;they both contributed greatly and both had their unique opportunities and challenges. They wasted no time, ever, bickering about who had it better. That’s small. Adopt a higher goal and perspective is my advice to OP.
April 8, 2014 at 8:42 pm
Not true, the view I have is this, from observation in the industry, women will opt for less pay to get the job and then demand equal pay there after, and the companies balk, since they thought they got a cheap bargain, when they know full well what the pay standard is. When this is corrected and they apply for jobs at the same rate as men get, they will be equally competitive, otherwise look at who controls most HR in the USA and you will see what is happening…and that is being straight up.
News Note: The ’77 Cents on the Dollar’ Myth About Women’s Pay
April 8, 2014 at 9:21 pm
Benjamin Treynor Sloss that is exactly the core message of the post, and of every article that I read about this issue in fact. And it speaks to the subject of Peter Jerome and his daughter who wanted to be a ski jumper. Frankly I don’t care whether people interpret statistics in the same way or not. What is crucial is asking the question, as in the internal studies done both at Yale and Harvard if we are focused on making sure there are no biases to fight. You can’t legislate prejudice and ignorance but you can educate against it. That should be the goal for each and all of us.
April 8, 2014 at 9:32 pm
You should not view gamesmanship of intellectual pundits in the current rep/senate, as good policy for both genders, the divisiveness of rap for votes is harmful to both genders….,again my view, not my opinion….
April 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm
See G.M. The American Enterprise Institute “corrected” all those silly “numbers”. There really is no gap and you guys have nothing to worry about. You can always trust The WSJ opinions to be fair and accurate.
April 8, 2014 at 10:03 pm
ted kelly I merely wanted to display my view second hand as to the dichotomy of media view and other manipulated views, without rendering opinion, personal views or biases in the last part of my original view.
I let, stand the first part of my view, because I did personally see such behavior take place.
April 8, 2014 at 11:47 pm
You gotta be kidding me.
April 8, 2014 at 11:56 pm
grace jolliffe my comment about men being supportive had to do specifically with men being supportive of me as a part of the community on G+. And that is by and large very true with rare exceptions. Yes, I do get people who can be so hostile and dismissive when I post something they don’t like or don’t agree with..and it feels very much like what you are talking about – that you are so strident thing – which is always designed to make someone shut up. But you know what? This is my thread and so the chances of my shutting up are zilch! 😉
Now to your broader point, Yes, you are absolutely right. I have had a long career and I have been blessed to work in big companies in positions of management. But part of the reason that I champion this “cause” if you want to call it that is because for every woman who does seem to find her way to the top so many others don’t for scores of reasons I could list. We could co-write that book together. I have heard it said of certain women that they are not good looking enough…that they are too ambitious (I always love that one), that they don’t know how to play the game (another winner), that they must “eat carpet tacks for breakfast” (one of my favorites), that they don’t know how to take a joke (when being asked to laugh at some truly offensive comment).
People who behave that way will always deny it…else it wouldn’t happen, right?
For what it’s worth to you, the word “strident” has been stricken from my personal vocabulary. I don’t hang with men who use such words to describe women. So ping me whenever you write something you want to share…
April 9, 2014 at 12:03 am
S Dequer congratulations on your career as a ranger-naturalist. I don’t meet many of those and think it must have been fascinating. And what a great story to know that you were part of some sort of mandate originally.
I would only say that I don’t agree that the reason men often tend to earn more money is that they have maintained a contiguous career path right out of high school/college when their female compadres are taking time off to have families and raise children. I have witnessed many situations where a man with no experience is hired in a company for more pay than women who are being hired in the same company with no experience. I have also witnessed, and I am sure there are many other women on this thread who can attest to this, situation after situation after situation where a man gets promoted above a woman and she has to train him to do his job…when he making more money than she is.
I had dinner with a friend of mine – a highly skilled financial managing director who did not get the promotion she deserved until her male boss suddenly found himself working for a woman.
The problem is that none of these scenarios show up in statistics…because they are personal stories from personal experience. Many women are silenced and never tell anyone what is going on for fear that they will be unemployable. The tendency to therefore trash statistics comes from disowning and denying personal experience because, quite frankly, there is a lot to be ashamed of in our culture about it.
I am glad that in your professional circumstance, seniority was the name of the name rather than anything else. Thank you for your comments.
April 9, 2014 at 12:07 am
Giselle Minoli there was a recent study regarding this issue in academia. So there are statistics. I can dig it up when I get home.
April 9, 2014 at 12:18 am
Hi Chad Haney do you know if they were regarding Harvard Business School and Yale Graduate School (in Maths and Sciences)? Those were interesting “studies” because they weren’t about pay scales…they were about academic environment. I’ve posted about both…but essentially at Harvard the mystery was why the school was accepting these brilliantly talented and capable women and then subjecting them to a sort of “prove that you deserve to be here” mentality after admission. It was such a serious accusation – and a true one – that the Dean later issued an apology (at a meeting in California) promising to rectify it.
The Yale “study” was also an internal study that was geared to trying to figure out, again, why so many talented women in Maths and Sciences weren’t making it. It was written by a woman who had been a star student at Yale and who ultimately left the profession, only to become a star at another profession.
This subject is rather different than the pay-scale subject but it falls somewhere in the same family. And it reminds me of a conversation I had not too long ago with a man who told me that he felt women didn’t belong in aviation. My response was to wonder out loud if female birds walk everywhere they go…or are feathered female birds allowed to fly? He was silent! But I digress…
April 9, 2014 at 12:20 am
Just to be clear the 77 cent figure you mention does not take into account the fact that women are over-represented in low wage occupations (that in its self says something). Once adjusted for occupational distribution it is closer to 85 cents per dollar. This is still a problem of course.
April 9, 2014 at 12:32 am
I do think that was alluded to in the article Rennie Allen. But it is just one of the many problems when people try to figure out how to parse a problem such as this into a statistics analysis schematic. Sooner or later it seems to become like comparing apples and oranges, when in reality there are usually multiple causalities going on at the same time that result in that 85cents if you prefer, or 75cents if you are a PEW Research believer. When all is said and done at the end of the day women do not have the relative wealth that men do. This affects all of our children and should be a concern to all of us because then it affects our education system, our healthcare system and, ultimately, the productivity of the society in which we live.
While a small part of me wants to buy into the argument (and I have used it myself) that this situation exists because women haven’t been doing it that long, in reality this is absurd. Women have been working since the early 60s. That was 50 years ago. There isn’t a man on this thread who wouldn’t scream and yell if it took him that long to be recognized for his expertise in something.
This shouldn’t even be an issue anymore in what many still consider to be the greatest democracy there is. But we do have our issues, don’t we? Yes, 15cents less on the dollar adds up to a pretty penny over the course of a lifetime.
April 9, 2014 at 12:52 am
Giselle Minoli I definitely agree on the problem. What concerns me a lot though is the over representation in low wage positions as that I think has a lot to do with under representation in science and teenage pregnancy (both of which are our problem as a society). I think what you are alluding to is that our societal structure works against women earning as much as men for many reasons, and that is my point as well. Once the culture embraces that child rearing is a shared societal responsibility (not only between woman and men, but between all of us, even childless people) then that is when I think women will have full economic parity.
April 9, 2014 at 1:01 am
Rennie Allen Yes, Yes and Yes. And I think that Gideon Rosenblatt would agree. However, may I quibble with one point…not that you are necessarily making…but it is something that gets thrown in the mix, which is the assumption that because a woman (let’s assume for argument’s sake that she is educated and had some kind of a career before she decided to have children and perhaps stay home with them) does choose to leave the workforce while raising children that she is therefore falling behind on her “experience” and therefore has to start at the bottom (as, perhaps, a receptionist or shop clerk or secretary) in order to break in the door. Wifing/mothering/raising children is a JOB. It is a JOB, one that requires skills that, I’m sorry to say, many men that I know cannot fathom. I’m not talking doing the laundry here. There are many women who handle the family finances and investments (okay…let’s call them bookkeepers ), who also home school their children (okay, let’s call them teachers), who are also superb scratch cooks (I happen to be one of those). The problem is that they don’t have degrees in bookkeeping or teaching nor are they formally trained as chefs and so the perception is that they’ve been sitting at home painting their nails and curling their hair.
The truth is that I don’t know any men who would take the risk that most women who leave the workforce take to stay home and raise their children when they know that they will not be rewarded for it and that when their children are grown they will have to start all over again. I am in awe of women who take that chance. Talk about making a personal sacrifice to their country!
April 9, 2014 at 1:02 am
Thanks Giselle Minoli for pinging me in. I just want to say that having lived in Europe and Canada (four years and six years, respectively), I learned that even the IDEA that women are solely responsible for bringing up children is so outdated, so wrong-headed, so anathema to the idea of “all people” having rights to life, liberty, etc., that it just should be a non-issue. Women have families if they and their partners want to, but they do not have to worry about day-care in the enlightened parts of the West, it comes with their citizenship in France, for example (where “day-care” workers MUST have Master’s degrees; and the ratio is something like 4 to 1.)
I got to see the ideal in action when I took a trip to Maastricht to give a lecture at Maastricht University in The Netherlands. The professor who had invited me had three children, all in school and day care. I can tell you for a fact, that day care center was nicer than Congressional Country Club in Potomac, Maryland! I honestly was in a state of shock, it was so grand! How much did it cost? It comes with citizenship.
Not only is day care expensive in the U.S., it is usually provided by people who do NOT have good educations. It is wildly different, depending on the State, and there just ARE no good solutions. (I was hoping President Obama’s Early Education program would get a fire under it which would solve a whole host of problems.) Not to mention more than half the children in the U.S. are living in below poverty levels, something which should be (and is for me) a national shame.
Why we have not addressed this issue is interesting. I lay it at womens’ feet: from the beginning of the “so-called” liberation movement, IMO children were not addressed. I have no idea why not. I was GOING to be a founding member of a professional women’s club in Washington, DC, and was going to put a significant amount of money into it when I got pregnant on my honeymoon. I was excited and happy when I went to our first big meeting to get things organized, signed and settled. Money on the table, etc.
I asked (for obvious reasons), “So, what about child care while we’re in the club?” “We are not going to have to deal with that because our members will have nannies.” “What if ‘our’ members do not WANT to have nannies? [I really do not like people telling me what to do in any venue.]
And I just got up and left. And never looked back. The stupidity so apparent in that statement left me in a kind of shock that still resonates.
If we, men and women, cannot see that children are OUR responsibility? We are never going to care about women’s success, or, for that matter are we going to achieve much in our society. If we do not invest in our children, we will not HAVE much of a future.
A society which allows its children to live in poverty, lets half of its high schoolers drop out, commits so much violence against women that it is being taken up in The Hague as a crime against humanity. With that environment, is it any wonder that businesses take advantage of women’s worth and pay them less?
Amnesty International states that, “Around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.”
That’s a pretty intense thought to get one’s head around.
Gender-based violence kills and disables as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer, and its toll on women’s health surpasses that of traffic accidents and malaria combined.
I don’t think it’s that hard to see lower pay as a violence. We have to stop this craziness and realize we are all in this country TOGETHER, E Pluribus Unum , that men and women need each other, that we need to support each other, and, for heaven’s sakes, support our children’s educations!
When we get that right, the women’s unequal pay, will, I think, go away. But as long as children are left in a woman’s care (as most are), and we do not SEE that those children are OUR children, collectively, then we will not fix the pay gap.
As just one more point on this issue: go to your local Walmart and see the gender of the people working there.
LOOK AT THEIR AGE! (A different song, but the same tune.)
Yes, fight about the statistics, because statistics are the only thing that matter.
Or, let’s work on making our world a better place for men and women to thrive. Why not? What is there to lose? Ten cents on the dollar?
April 9, 2014 at 1:03 am
Rennie Allen Wow, we were writing at the same time! Synchronicity!
April 9, 2014 at 1:13 am
And let’s also not forget the inverse; women are seriously, seriously under-represented in the highest echelons. I’ll reiterate the previous point: women are 4.6% of Fortune 1000 CEO’s. 95% disparity at the very top tiers of earnings will do more to drive a wage gap than anything else.
April 9, 2014 at 1:25 am
Chris Jenkins! Have you switched camps???? 😉
I really want to live in a world, Chris, where there are no camps. I really want those young men and women coming up behind us to want to be educated and to look forward to working hard. No one says that if you choose to be a school teacher you will make the same salary as an investment banker or a Fortune 500 company CEO. You can call me a dreamer…I’m okay with that.
But I cannot begin to count the number of women I have worked with in my professional life who suffer through a man getting promoted above her and they leave because they don’t want to spend their lives in that fight. It’s tiring.
I was the recipient of a rather unusual education. I went to an experimental private girls school (one that is now nationally well known, but no longer just a girls school), and then to an incredible college. It is a strange thing (and I’m not saying this doesn’t exist for men as well, so don’t get me wrong), to have to study the same subjects as men and be judged equally intellectually and then go out into the professional business world and have to deal with these issues. My fear for a long time has been that young women don’t want to deal with it anymore and are simply giving up. Thus Sheryl Sandberg’s women aren’t Leaning In enough. My own view is that they have been Leaning In for a very, very, very long time.
April 9, 2014 at 1:31 am
😀 I was never in a different camp to begin with, just quibbling over bad math as a central point. I hate easily hand waved away sound bites, especially for a topic as important as this. 🙂
“No one says that if you choose to be a school teacher you will make the same salary as an investment banker or a Fortune 500 company CEO. “
Sure, but you know what, as long as we’re shooting for a perfect world, why not aim for one where the person at the top of the company doesn’t make 500 times what the person at the bottom does?
April 9, 2014 at 1:37 am
Oh good grief Chris Jenkins…you’re hinting that I should post yet again? This time with the lede: Well, you won’t make as much money as a man…because of this thing called Executive Compensation, which for the most part, women are left out of…because…women aren’t as important as men…”
April 9, 2014 at 1:39 am
laughing No, not at all. I think your post has done a magnificent job at fostering discussion on the topic.
But, you know, if you want to highlight the fact that there are so few women in the C suite, I’ll plus that one too.
April 9, 2014 at 1:42 am
Meg Tufano did you happen to see this? I think it’s fabulous! Bard College Invites Essays In Lieu of Applications: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/09/nyregion/writing-essays-instead-of-applications-to-win-a-place-at-bard-college.html?_r=0
April 9, 2014 at 1:49 am
Fabulous! My side job right now is working with kids on “What’s next?” after high school. (Compass Rose Learning). If it is college, I work with them on how to decipher the crazy application process. Essays say so much more than applications, imo. Although together they are a decent pairing (though from admissions perspective, essays really help you get to know an applicant’s thinking and personality and how they might fare in your college so much more en pointe than the generic application).
April 9, 2014 at 3:15 am
Thought you would like that Jennifer Tackman. Boy, different aspects of this conversation are everywhere. Here is another article in the Times about the growing population of stay-at-home Moms, in part because they cannot find work outside of the home. Read about it here:
April 9, 2014 at 3:19 am
Giselle Minoli – I’m single and without kids, but because I’m in the child-rearing age range, I’ve been told I fit in the category quickly eliminated. And I can’t rise up in a company if I can’t even get in the door!
April 9, 2014 at 3:22 am
Interesting article, Giselle Minoli and aligned with what I have seen personally among friends and colleagues and family members.
April 9, 2014 at 3:39 am
Chris Jenkins I like that kind of thinking: 500 to 1 seems as though the one is taking advantage of his power maybe? (And I can say “his” because the women in that echelon are statistically insignificant. ;’))
April 9, 2014 at 3:40 am
Giselle Minoli YAY!!!!!
April 9, 2014 at 3:41 am
Absolutely right. 🙂
April 9, 2014 at 4:29 am
Giselle Minoli here’s the study I was thinking of.
Gender Differences in the Salaries of Physician Researchers posted by Adrienne Roehrich
I stumbled onto this one while searching. It might be of interest too.
April 9, 2014 at 10:22 am
I believe people doing the same job should be paid the same amount of salary, regardless of race, gender or education. If the job is worth paying person A an amount X, it is worth paying person B the X amount as well. For a while, I didn’t even realize this was a problem because this concept is so logical and common sense to me, it didn’t even occur to me it could be any different.
Unfortunately, it is and it needs to be addressed.
On the other side, the statistics bureau here in Holland where I live just released the latest stats:
– Of all couples, almost 20% of women have a higher income than their male partner
– Of couples without children, almost a quarter of the women have a higher income than their male partner
– Of couple between ages of 15-35 almost a third of the women have a higher income than their partner
However, as soon as kids get involved the picture changes and the stats drop to 16% and 14% for couples with underage or adult kids.
The last category is understandable, as they are older and probably have more ‘traditional’ roles. But the first is showing a problem, as these couple will largely fall in the 15-35 age category above. If this is by free choice, than there is no issue, but I can’t help but wonder if there is more going on there.
April 9, 2014 at 12:31 pm
Chad Haney thanks so much…reading with interest and will respond later…
April 9, 2014 at 1:07 pm
Interesting study Chad Haney and very much aligned with my experience in a doctoral program focused on engineering and tech design. I will read the study data in more detail later, but wanted to say thanks for the link.
April 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm
You are welcome Jennifer Tackman and Giselle Minoli. I’m working on a grant proposal, so I haven’t had a chance to read this thread carefully.
April 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm
Good luck on the proposal Chad Haney!
April 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm
An excellent post Giselle Minoli as usual and timely given our President’s recent push.
My Father died when I was four. In those days women of my Mother’s generation were not trained for the workplace but rather to be the good proper housewife. Forced to find employment she got a job as a bookkeeper but the rate of pay was such I was sent to a boarding school as a matter of economics.
In retrospect growing up without a Father was instructional in forming my belief system as to gender equality. And while I’m not keeping score as such I have believed for decades there is no disparity between the sexes. Both bring strengths and weaknesses depending upon their role in the workplace. Yet, regrettably, bias remains against women. Shameful.
Years later my wife expressed a desire to continue her education through an intensive program. I recognized this would involve an equally intensive process built on focus. Thus, as we commuted I pried her with questions, flash cards, etc. I maintained the home, did the housework, cooking, shopping and so forth. The end result was graduation with honors and continued escalation of her career with a major company. I could have not been more proud. Why? I saw no difference then as to her gender. I knew her to be exceedingly intelligent and capable, but given the corporate climate knew her resume needed to be “front-loaded” as to gain some semblance of equal footing against her male counterparts.
Though divorced now I am happy with the course of events throughout those years. My contribution was to help another and most certainly not confined nor restricted to gender. That this issue is still discussed mystifies and saddens me.
April 9, 2014 at 4:47 pm
We should all watch out for each other regardless of gender. Many people are doing good work and not being paid as much as others, and often its because those people don’t ask for more.
Know your own worth and encourage others to do the same. Lets be our own champions.
April 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm
Hi, Giselle! Excelent article: we need articles that can help women to be realised as persons and as professionals. Only realised people can be happy and therefore generous and free.
I like what you said about Jessica Jerome ( young women need mentorship ). But…older women need it too!
And I decided to follow your advice ( mentorship ? ) and becoming a Chef.
I am studing a lot and practicing.
You asked me what writers interviews I read from the Paris Review: a lot!
For instance: Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Beryl Bainbridge, Ann Beattie, Sybill Bedford, Anita Brookner, Louise Erdrich, A.S.Byatt, Anne Carson, Joan Didion, Hortense Calister, Margaret Drabble, Paula Fox, Mavis Gallant, Elisabeth Hardwick, Shirley Hazzard, Amy Hempel, P.D. James, Mary Karr, Doris Lessing.
The interviews are short ones, and they show the habits, the environment of the writers. They are very instructive: we can understand what moves the creative process and that there is usually an intuitive self-knowledge, extremely subjective that leads to writing.
Very interesting to see some very good and balanced writers, because there is a romantic mith of the mental problems beeing conected to the creativity process.
Well… I must go now. The 11 of April, I shall be in Copenhague, in order to get a job ..as a cook, maybe?!
April 9, 2014 at 7:16 pm
Thanks Di Cleverly. It’s not even my proposal. It’s for my boss’s boss. Fun!
April 9, 2014 at 9:05 pm
Giselle Minoli I am so glad you are championing this cause because you are making great points here. I am planning to write an article about the ‘stridentometer’ in very near feature and will let you know. Thank you for your considered post and replies.
April 9, 2014 at 9:15 pm
Chad Haney I’m very grateful to you. I’ve just gotten to read both studies and they verify what I have “heard.” The salary discrepancy with the medical professions is very similar (although slightly lower) that the last figures I had heard, which was prior to 2012.
On reflection, now I’m really annoyed. Is it some sort of bias or prejudice within my that believes that there should be far less discrimination when the level of education is as high as it is with doctors? Usually as much as 12 years of higher education and in many cases much more?
If it isn’t a bias (but nonetheless what I perceive to be a “normal” expectation…that the more well educated one is the less prone to be discriminatory)…then what is it? Are we dealing with something simply built into the, what? DNA of the culture? Is it competitive? Is it exclusive, clubby behavior? Does discrimination of this sort – a kind of financial gender bias – get born in some place that is just impossible to identify and is that the reason it exists in the first place?
I really do believe it is a power issue. I’m going to free-associate for a moment. Back in the “old” days…remember them?…men were used to making the money and buying things for women – houses, cars, clothes, jewelry. When I confronted my CBS bosses about my low salary compared to my predecessor (who had been fired to hire me) I was told that he had a wife, kids and a mortgage. In other words, he had all this stuff to buy and I didn’t because I was 24, single and carefree.
So I do think a great deal of salary worth has nothing whatsoever to do with merit and everything to do with perceived notions about what it means to be the breadwinner and what that person “needs” (if they are a man).
But culturally, as time goes by and so many women are now family breadwinners and sole supports for their children, there is no comparable “philosophy” about what a woman “needs.” Perversely, her financial worth is based on years of experience and merit (supposedly).
It is an odd thing in this world of executive compensation where the uber boss of a company can virtually take it out and still get a golden handshake. There seem to be two completely different theories applied to compensation for men and women in the workforce.
One further thought: How is it even possible, given these studies, that some people still insist on believing there is no gender bias in pay scale? Denial is a disease.
Thanks so much for taking the time to look these up for me and for everyone else here, Chad.
April 9, 2014 at 9:22 pm
Gijs van Dijk it is so very difficult to tease out the meanings of these statistics, particularly in this case for me, since I am completely ignorant about the cultural perception of these roles in your country.
But, wow, over and over and over again what I see with women is that it appears they are almost being “punished” for having children…meaning that a woman knows that if she has children it is a choice between having a financially solvent life and a life with the rewards of children. This is why it is said that it is such a difficult decision to make. I don’t quite know what to make of the last category. While certain things may be true about that age range, here in the United States, unless I am very wrong, the age between 15-35 is not typically a person’s serious earning years…those come later. But, it is true that by the age of 35, if a woman decides to marry and have children and leave the workplace, it’s not that her salary goes down, it’s that her salary completely disappears…once she begins the only job I know of that is unpaid!
April 9, 2014 at 9:28 pm
Giselle Minoli my gut feeling is that society trains children to follow stereotypes such that they reinforce the biases when they are adults. It appears that younger generations are more inclusive of LGBT people. It’s the old curmudgeons (male and female) that are so vocal about excluding LGBT people. I would hope that younger generations can learn about gender equality as well. It’s a parent’s job to help promote equality and not reinforce old fashioned stereotypes.
I’m thinking about the father who wore a woman’s skirt around town to show support for his very young son, who was ridiculed for wearing a dress.
April 9, 2014 at 9:41 pm
Gosh Chad Haney I remember that story about that father (if it’s the same story). I thought, Good Lord what a remarkably visionary, gutsy and brave man, who, at rock bottom, was filled with love for his son. What a lucky kid. But it does take guts, doesn’t it, Chad? So too…going upstairs at a company and saying to the Bosses, “Yo…fellas, we are not doing right by the women in this company.” There are places where such talk can get a man fired.
April 9, 2014 at 10:07 pm
Giselle Minoli, a hopeful sign is the direction of some toy companies to offer gender neutral toys. I think I read that you can buy an Easy-Bake oven in a color other than pink for the first time.
April 9, 2014 at 10:35 pm
I hate the color pink Chad Haney. Just instinctively because I never played with dolls or wore that color. And pink cadilacs and the tyranny of assigning a “color” to breast cancer or to AIDS or to anything else.
It would be so interesting if companies were to adopt some version of The Voice when interviewing. They are not allowed to know whether someone was male or female, or how old they are, or what their skin color is or how they dress or whether they are married or single or straight or bi. Just the merits of their ability. Certain things could be tricky that way…because underage is a problem and forcing a medical practice, for instance, to hire someone who might be 65 and clearly not going to build a practice….well, it could get tricky. But I do like the old Bag Over the Head Trick. It really forces someone to listen.
April 10, 2014 at 1:32 pm
For anyone tempted or committed to denying the issues of pay discrimination because of a lack of agreement on whether we are arguing a wage earned by a woman of .77c for every $1, or .84c for every $1 earned by a man, read the editorial below, which cites numerous studies from a variety of sources that reveal the more subtle nuances of pay discrimination, as well as the overall reach of the problem:
In fact, it is a rough, but important, measure of overall workplace inequality. It is not a comparison of what men and women are paid for performing the same or comparable jobs. But, *in representing the full-time wages of a working woman against that of a full-time working man, it reflects overt discrimination as well as more nuanced gender-based factors, like the fact that women are disproportionately concentrated in the lowest-paying fields and not well-represented in higher-paying fields. Of course, 77 cents is not the only measure. But there is no doubt that the pay gap is real.
The Pew Research Center last year found that women earned 84 percent of what men earned in its study of the hourly wages of all workers, including those who work part time. Similarly, a 2013 review by the Economic Policy Institute of annual hourly wages for men and women with college degrees, including salaried and hourly workers, found that the men earned on average $33.71 per hour and the women just $25.35 an hour.
Even controlling for hours, occupations, marital status, and other relevant factors, college-educated women earn less than their male counterparts, according to a recent study by the American Association of University Women. And a study issued this month by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported that women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in nearly every occupation, including the most common occupations for full-time working women, like elementary- and middle-school teaching and nursing.*
April 11, 2014 at 10:15 am
Hmmmm Omer Zak I have never met such women…but no doubt they exist, as do men who select their mates only by the characteristics of youth and beauty. 😉
April 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm
Giselle Minoli You already know where I stand on this issue. My mother brought me up better than the men who think paying 77 cents on the dollar to a woman is just and ethical.
April 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm
I do know where you stand James Barraford. It was only here on G+ that I have heard the stories of men who were raised by single mothers who speak about them with respect. I’m not saying that outside of this platform, men who came from that situation don’t have respect for their single mothers…just that men actually talk about it here…(boy did I phrase that badly or what? It’s Friday. I’m tired). 😉
April 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm
The hardest job in the world is a single mother. So is the second. And the third.
April 11, 2014 at 3:50 pm
April 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm
Giselle Minoli Respectfully, “I have not met such women” with regards to women that select husbands based on earnings potential, is almost certainly “I have not noticed the women I met that do this”.
Female attraction to earning/earning potential is unfortunately one of the core attraction switches in humans. It made sense at one time, but in modern society it no longer does. And it won’t show up for the woman that’s subconsciously doing the evaluation as “He’s making less than $50k, I’d better divorce him” – it will show up as “I no longer feel attracted to him” or “We fight all the time” or similar.
So like Omer Zak I do not believe we can get fully rid of the discrepancy, because there are underlying factors that drive some of it. And like Chris Jenkins I’ve seen several sources of statistics, and everything that does careful regression to eliminate other factors seems to place gender based difference for the same work in the 0 to 5% range, with the consensus being around 1-2%. This means that equal pay for equal work may be the wrong thing to attempt to deal with – men earn 30% more than women by doing different work, and narrowing that to 29 or even 28% isn’t the biggie.
The biggie seems to be giving women the opportunity to do the same kind of work, and making sure that everybody that works in the kind of situations women do get paid reasonably.
Examples of ways to do this is mandatory time off for both men and women when they get children, subsidized child care (so women that have children and want to work can work), mandated flexible working situations that allow women to minimize the time they are away from work with small children, supporting systems that allow women to keep increasing their employability even when home with children (e.g. online courses), and increasing the minimum wage for everybody – and possibly flattening the overall pay curve.
April 12, 2014 at 1:17 am
Hello, Eivind Eklund…respectfully…I think your response about why women are interested in the earning power of the men they marry shows a lack of understanding about the economics of marrying, having children and staying home to take care of them, which is work, but unpaid work. A significant number of women who go through a divorce end up taking care of the children they had with their spouses, who more often than not are the breadwinners and therefore have the freedom to marry again, while leaving their former wives and children living near or often under the poverty line.
Any woman who is considering getting married and having children who does not care about the earning power and the financial security her spouse can provide is not being responsible, either to herself, to her children, nor, I might add, to her husband.
It is one thing to marry for love (either a woman or a man) but it is another thing to deny and ignore the reality of life.
In addition, I frankly cannot think of a single place where any of us, men or women, are not asked what we have to offer. When we apply for a job, our employer wants to know our qualifications, our experience, what we will bring to the table. When we start a business, we choose our business partners very carefully, each person possibly bringing something quite different to the table, but it has to be relevant and everyone has to contribute something major.
The best marriages I know, just like the best business partnerships or the best creative partnerships, are those in which the partners are stone cold sober about their responsibilities, what things cost, what their goals are, who is going to do what work when.
And when I meet someone who does not pay any attention whatsoever to the bottom line? I think I’m dealing with a child.
So, No, I don’t agree with you that women marry men for their money. I think women know they are going to be punished for dropping out of the job market to have children and they want to make sure there is money in the bank to cover that reality. They believe they are taking a huge, huge, huge risk by dropping out of the work market, a risk from which they will never recover financially, because it is their salary that is going to disappear, not their husbands’ salaries.
This is not the same thing, of course, as a woman spending all the money a man has on diamonds, furs and pink cars. Not the same thing at all.
April 12, 2014 at 1:31 am
Some men give their wives a stipend for being a house wife and men of means give their wives an actual salary and a budget to manage their homes and help jointly raise their children, hard to say what percentage, because there is no way to actually measure that..
April 12, 2014 at 1:39 am
Hello Henry Linneweh! That’s true…but that is a sophisticated acknowledgement that it is indeed work. Women who are given only money for groceries, running the house, household expenses, etc. are not able to start, for instance, the 401(k)s that they might be able to have were they working for a company.
I think choosing a mate is one of the most difficult if not the most important choice a person can make. It sounds so unromantic to ask if a prospective mate, aside from making one’s heart pound, and breathing shallow, also sees things in the same way and has the same value system.
But I think it’s tremendously romantic to say to someone…’I love you and I know we are going to make a great team.
Somehow it just seems to me that if women were valued…this wouldn’t even be an issue…but it comes up over and over and over again, and it has for decades.
BTW…THANK YOU very much for the Boxer link. I so appreciate it when people take the time to share links within threads. It matters!
April 12, 2014 at 1:49 am
Love makes the world go round and money greases the wheel, as the saying goes.
I think a working couple also can achieve this, with careful planning and collaboration.
I have said it many times in the past and present too. Housewife is a noble profession, as long as both parties come to understand the others needs to make it work, it is easy, I do believe it can work.
The boxer link came in my email and she asked for me to help support this, so where was best place to post it, was here, while we are viewing the discussion and sharing, and it does help and thwart some of the stereotype.
April 12, 2014 at 1:59 am
How thoughtful of you to point that link here Henry Linneweh. Yes…it is the cultivation of a collaboration between men and women. The original women’s movement, unfortunately (but I understand it) created the impression that it was a complete break from any dependency on men. But it was only because it was so new, and it was difficult to talk about it. But they had no idea they would be called “bra burners” and be accused of hating families and mothers and wives. It often became a battle between women…instead of a respectful understanding that not everyone’s needs are the same, nor does everyone want the same thing.
But with this version of the movement, which is focused on making sure that women are properly paid for their work, it leaves us in the great position of choosing partners based on wanting them to be in our lives, rather than being based on needing them to be. I think that creates a sense of resentment down the line.
No, it is not easy.
And, Yes, it will work!
April 13, 2014 at 12:34 am
I have enormous respect for Frank Bruni, an intelligent, observant journalist who writes frequently highly personal editorials. This one is about the pay women make vs. the pay men make, seen through his relationship with his sister, and it is well worth reading:
April 13, 2014 at 3:55 am
Giselle Minoli In reply to your historic comment, that is where the mistrust fostered, and the came the revolution and then came the women who used that as a tool, not really caring about the strides other women had made.
This part I find interesting
But with this version of the movement, which is focused on making sure that women are properly paid for their work, it leaves us in the great position of choosing partners based on wanting them to be in our lives, rather than being based on needing them to be. I think that creates a sense of resentment down the line, men should see the wanting of a man and not needing him, as a god send of less stress and dying from the effort, the difficulty comes in the trusting, men need to feel sure footed in such a venture, because we like women do not like being traded in for the newer version, like if we bought a new car, the human value of the partner must be added to even begin to make headway…..
April 13, 2014 at 12:07 pm
Ah, Henry Linneweh thank you for that. It is so true what you express. I think we are forgetting (or perhaps have already forgotten and need to remember?) just loving one another as human beings. I don’t care what the particular kind of “coupling” it is, whether it is two women, two men or a man and a woman, Yes, wanting to be with someone – because you respect them, admire them, think they are intelligent, funny, warm, creative, inspiriting, whatever – leads to respect. But I see it every day Henry Linneweh, this fear young professional women (and women who have been at it for a long, long period of time) have of never making it financially, no matter how good they are at their jobs, no matter how many hours they put in…and then they start thinking “How am I ever going to be able to afford a family…if I never get promoted, if I never make any more money than this, if I can never get a decent raise?” Why shouldn’t such a woman be thinking about how much money her prospective partner earns? Diapers, baby clothes, swing sets, shoes, tricycles and bicycles…they aren’t free, they aren’t free.
There is no better reason to promote making sure that women are encouraged, supported and promoted than knowing it will lead to greater happiness for couples and children. Ultimately it is a spiritual issue. It’s called doing the right thing!
April 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm
Giselle Minoli This is an interesting point.
Young women of success have exorbitant school loans outstanding and no one to pick up the tab for them, they are
relegate to poverty as a result of getting a higher degree, men are also relegate to the same issue. To breed both need to figure
out how to create a relationship, find money to purchase their
first domicile and when to breed and determine if there can be more than 1 child, all of this is cost dependent and what efforts,
beyond 40 hours they each can make, sometimes that will be easy and sometimes not, collaboration instead of compromise
is the key essential here, so no one gets hurt, the struggle will be the same, the pain the same and the fear’s talked about to suppress the anxieties, the interaction will cause the humanness,
sometimes tears will flow in the release of this fear and sometimes, because of happiness that someone at least understands.
I digress to a more personal level here, we are born alone and die alone, between the extremes and the realization that I have come to, is woman is an essential part of my life no matter the differences and I do what ever it takes to provide the tools and means to make it all happen, “freedom” is when there is enough money, to where no one wants for anything, otherwise freedom is just another word…..and for people that are just everyday skilled workers their wants are the same and their fears are the same. I can not speak to same sex couples, because
this fear young professional women (and women who have been at it for a long, long period of time) have of never making it financially, no matter how good they are at their jobs, no matter how many hours they put in…and then they start thinking “How am I ever going to be able to afford a family…if I never get promoted, if I never make any more money than this, if I can never get a decent raise?” Why shouldn’t such a woman be thinking about how much money her prospective partner earns? Diapers, baby clothes, swing sets, shoes, tricycles and bicycles…they aren’t free, they aren’t free.
April 13, 2014 at 8:54 pm
Henry Linneweh this collaboration thing you speak of – the sense of it in the United States has changed enormously, in my opinion since the end of World War II. There can often be a greater sense of romance, of partnership, of the need for love, during wartime. It’s such an excruciating thing to go through. So many families torn in one way or another by losing a loved one, a home or any of the other monstrous difficulties of war. Yes, there have been wars since, but not ones that brought together such a sense of profound loss.
Since then our focus is so much on business and globalization. People buy and sell cars, houses, real estate. They are in and out of jobs. Divorce is common. Easy and fast is the name of the game. Within that if something doesn’t work, or needs a certain kind of nurturing, it can often get lost in the shuffle. I don’t think it’s a far stretch from there to how we see so many different things – cutting out so many areas of education.
In our effort to be wildly successfully financially and in business, we are possibly becoming less successful collaborating with one another. If that is true, no wonder women are finding it a rough go in terms of parity.
But I do see it changing and I predict that the elections in the next 3 years are going to bring with them widespread change. Or at least many seeds of change will be planted…
April 13, 2014 at 9:51 pm
The definition of collaboration is two or more people or entities working together to achieve some common aim.
Men and war, we serve we die, out loved one’s lives, shattered like glass. There is no humanity in war, it is killing off the excess men from each nation of the said war, because there are no jobs for them or women to breed with and no housing allotted.
For the married one’s, they are one to many for the retirement funds and other monetary funding social security, Medicare, etc.
That is being honest and frank, straight up. That is how collaboration should work, Between men and women so that they can reflect on their errors and come to terms With their mate, that both can live by, trust is the key within collaboration. And the building of trust, leads to a happy, healthy, recurring romantic life of sorts. Nurturing, fostering, encouraging are supportive terms, without cajoling.
Divorce is the used car reference term and does not solve the problem. It is like abortion as a method of birth control, which I disagree with. Abortion because of rape of complications of health and just the plain right of a woman to have an abortion I do agree with, with the one exception.
Globalization, has caused high unemployment, poor US wages, destruction of the culture of democracy and an armed police state, with suggested reasoning of terrorism, which is a hysterical notion, promoted by mass media and psychological operations, classical education, should come back and the government should leave people alone to achieve such ends. I don’t much care if people from India have 6 PhD’s and the governments’ excuse is, we can get them cheap, is part of the globalization scam, Ann Richards started this under Ronald Reagan and we have steadily declined as Leading nation ever since. Importing foreign workforces to manipulate the vote and further divide the nation is also part of this national tragedy.
Socialists concepts were born in the Cafes’ around the University of Vienna and were Categorically, intellectual conversations, which turned into a scam of global proportions, look at socialist governments’ of the world they are all fail sauce.
But I do see it changing and I predict that the elections in the next 3 years are going to bring with them widespread change. Or at least many seeds of change will be planted…
Yes I can see Hillary Clinton making changes, hopefully she will include men in her dialectic, because if not, she will be just another Washington tool
April 13, 2014 at 10:03 pm
Henry Linneweh: Yes I can see Hillary Clinton making changes, hopefully she will include MEN in her dialectic, because if note, she will be just another Washington tool. Yes. Yes. And another Yes!
April 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm
Giselle Minoli Sorry for late reply – G+ swallowed your eloquent reply for a while (leaving the later messages but not the one addressed to me), so I didn’t notice your post.
What you’re saying is orthogonal to my comment, really – I completely agree that there are rational reasons for looking for a partner with reasonable earning potential, with no implication of “spending all the man’s money” – it’s just rational for being able to create a household that works.
What I tried to communicate was something different: That in addition to any rational factor, for women and on average, falling in love includes significant a factor based on income/earning potential.
Last post, I wrote this as “Female attraction to earning/earning potential is unfortunately one of the core attraction switches in humans.” and added “It made sense at one time, but in modern society it no longer does.” I stand by the addition. I think rationally evaluating the earnings situation makes perfect sense. However, falling in love is controlled irrationality. It is a way of committing to somebody even over their flaws, made to create a situation where kids could grow up.
Today, I don’t think having “is wealthy and burning wealth on you” as a falling in love factor makes evolutionary sense. I think women are rational enough to evaluate this by themselves. Which is why I said “unfortunately”.
Another aspect of this that’s important: As long as that factor is there, you’ll find that many men will optimize for that factor. If women do not optimize for that but optimize for other factors – e.g. beauty, the primary simple attraction factor for attracting men – then men will keep earning more than women, because men and women will be motivated to do different things. This seems to make some amount of income difference in favor of men unavoidable – because men more actively seek making that money, and are more willing to give up other things for it. (I also suspect there’s instinct driving that, as opposed to any semi-rational analysis of women’s behavior, but I know of no research into that and the only way I see to test that would be direct neural understanding and comparison to other species – and we do not have that knowledge yet.)
Evidence also indicates that the wish for men to make more don’t go away with women making more (“the structural powerlessness hypothesis”) – see e.g. Gender differences in mate selection criteria: Sociobiological or socioeconomic explanation? by Wiederman and Allgeier, 1992 (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/016230959290021U) – described in “Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose”, using the words “Is it a personal economic shortage that leads women to put an emphasis on financial resources? Not necessarily. A study showed that the higher the income young women expected to earn, the more important to them was the income of their potential partners and the higher the income they wanted a potential partner to earn.” (Unfortunately, I don’t know of any more recent reference for this particular topic – and a quick Google search don’t help.)
This entire long ramble is important because wasting energy on a battle that is impossible to win stops that energy from being used for something useful.
If we find that women get equal pay for equal work (which, contrary to anecdotes, the evidence seems to indicate to within a small margin of error), then we shouldn’t try to make them get equal pay for equal work – it is spending energy on a battle that can’t be won (since it already is).
If we find that women choose other things over higher earning power, then we need to understand the causes of this, so we can address it appropriately – e.g, if it is because they are put in the position of taking care of children much more often, then state supported kindergardens and after school activites may be an appropriate remedy (this is done in Norway and Sweden, and works well there.)
April 15, 2014 at 1:10 am
Eivind Eklund I appreciate your own very thoughtful response. Thank you. You know, one of the things that troubles me the most about this issues is the attempt (I am speaking generally, not about you particularly) to parse the difficulty of the discussion into one about statistics, figures and evolutionary behavior, none of which individual quite get at the matter, and the whole of which leaves out so many other things.
It is impossible, and I do mean impossible, to have a discussion about the evolutionary aspects of women perhaps using their beauty to effect relationships, without taking into consideration the hundreds of years of behavior encouraged by pre-existing financial circumstances.
I don’t buy the argument because no one can be completely free to choose if, oddly, they have no choice. So, if a woman feels she has no choice, and perhaps no education, no experience, no support structure, no contacts, she may well rely on promoting herself in a particular way because that is what she has, sort of like playing poker.
While at the same time a woman with different circumstances may go down a different road – for instance if she is highly educated, has a supportive family with deep pockets, a wide and solid support structure and perhaps even entry into the business world (including a family business).
I do think one of the things that everyone agrees on is that it is a more difficult choice for women. For instance, I have NEVER met in my entire life one single man who feels, or who has felt or who would ever feel that at some point in his life he will have to chose between having a wife and a family and having a career. It is just isn’t real.
While this is the dilemma that most women will face at one time in her life or another. And the financial consequences of her decision can sometimes be quite dire.
And I do not agree with an easy dismissal that women are making equal pay for equal work…because they aren’t and simply because stats say most might be or some might be, I don’t think that is an argument winner.
Way back in this thread, however, someone (or many someones) made the point that the core issue is opportunity and this is something I would like to go back to in my post…which is the focus on men (fathers, brothers, uncles, bosses, friends) paying attention to the issue and being mentors to the women in their lives. This Eivind Eklund I think is the thing that will shift it internationally.
If everyone is striving for equality consciously…then it will be difficult to breed the circumstances that give rise to inequality, right? (This is true for so many things)…thank you for joining the discussion…