Community & Government

Understanding the Wage Gap

Tina and Gloria discuss the value of work as the wage gap persists more than 50 years after the Equal Pay Act.

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Topics include: Understanding the Wage Gap Gendered Work


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So we are here almost a half a century since the Equal Pay Act was passed, which was supposed to make sure that women were paid equally to men. And yet we've seen persistently that the wage gap still exists. On the average, women make $0.80 for every dollar that a man makes. The gap is larger for Black women. It's largest for Latinx women. Now that's across all occupations, because that's the way we want to measure it. It isn't enough to just say for the one job that you have for that moment the man who's working next to you and you are getting the same pay. Because even though that moment you may be making the same wage, because of all the other things that affect women at work, whether you have to take time off to have a baby, whether you needed a more flexible schedule, whether there was unconscious bias in the decision to not let you go to that key business dinner with the client who then turned out to be the biggest client of the company's that year and the man did and so he got that business and landed it, and therefore that affects whether he gets a bonus or whether he gets a promotion and you don't. All of those are factors that continue to keep women's wages over time depressed. - One day when I realized that we were paying our parking lot attendants more than our child care attendants, though I would argue we care more about our children than our cars, I found that way more impactful on me and on other people than just quoting statistics. - You're absolutely right. It's sort of abstract, right? And-- and it is often misinterpreted as what we're talking about is equal pay for equal work. So if you-- just so long as everybody doing the same job is getting paid equally, that that's OK. But it overlooks your example, right? It overlooks the job segregation that we have in our economy, you know, where women are overwhelmingly in child care and teacher positions that are underpaid, and men are overwhelmingly in finance or in the tech space where people are, you know, highly compensated. And, you know, equal pay means we have to look at all of those issues to reach, you know, pay equity. And it's not just in the one job, you know? Women who are underpaid, it's something that lasts their entire careers. It affects how much they have at their end of life, what their pensions can be. It affects, you know, their ability to rise within the company. Time's Up did a study that actually tried to figure out, what are the points at which the course of a career things happen to affect equal pay? Because it isn't just at the one moment at which you get hired and you pay a set. It also is affected by what your scheduling is and whether you're able and available to work, and so therefore whether, you know, you're seen as a valued employee. It happens when you're up for a promotion or a pay increase it happens. You know, it happens on whether you're recognized as a leader. And in each step along th...

About the Instructor

Women’s rights activists and political changemakers Gloria Steinem, adrienne maree brown, Amanda Nguyen, and Tina Tchen know there’s strength in numbers—especially in the fight for equality. Now, they’re coming together to dissect the issues women have faced in the U.S., talk about their advocacy efforts and personal challenges, and introduce ways you can play an active role in the feminist movement in your everyday life.

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Gloria Steinem, adrienne maree brown, Amanda Nguyen, and Tina Tchen

Four women’s rights activists discuss the feminist movement in the U.S., ways they’re creating change, and how you can join the fight for equality.

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