Here’s something that we should try to fix: in the U.S., if you’re a woman, you’re probably going to make less money than if you’re a man. This has nothing to do with skill or deservingness. This has to do with a statistical gap in how much men and women get paid.
For example, the median pay for women doctor is $74,440 a year. Men make $121,680. With the difference, you could buy a Macbook Pro for your parents, your 3 siblings, 20 other family members, and yourself. Or maybe a new Tesla every few years. Or, like, retire much earlier.
Women nurses and elementary/middle school teachers make about $6000 less per year than male counterparts. You could use that to ski an alp and then stay in a fancy-ass lodge every summer. You could pay 100$ for brunch every sunday and still have $800 leftover. Or you could pay off your student loans years earlier.
Thinking of going into finance? Median man accountant salary: $74,932. Median woman accountant salary: $52,936. You could get someone to build you this ridiculous tiny house for the difference.
Social work? Men make on median $9000 more.
Software development? $16,000 more.
Real estate? Men by more than $20,000. That’s an extra brand new Jeep Renegade every year. You could buy 500 bottles of Jamison Irish Whiskey. You could come within a few hundred bucks of getting the 7 best seats at a Beyoncé concert.
Okay, but what if you’re the bossest of bosses? Surely chief executive women who are extremely in charge make bank? They do. But still make 25% less than male chief execs do.
The wage gap’s even worse for women who aren’t white. A 2016 report concluded that Latina women make on 54% what white men make, Black women make 63%, and Asian women 87%. A 2017 report returned slightly better numbers: Latina women made 62%, Black women 67.7%, and Asian women 93%. But there’s still a ways to go.
Sometimes sexism is subtle. But other times, it comes down to, if you happen to be male, you are statistically more likely to have more access to stuff than if you are female. The gender pay gap’s one of those other times.
What can we do?
Unfortunately, there’s not an easy solution to this problem. The top line numbers are straightforward, but the reason things are the way they are isn’t simple. For example, it doesn’t seem to be true that companies are knowingly, willfully undervaluing women’s work. It’s more subtle.
Some folks like to say that women just don’t negotiate as well as men, but as 1 reporter we like points out, that might be because bad things happen to women when they try to negotiate. Anyway, don’t we want pay to be based on job performance, and not on if you’re good at convincing someone to pay you?
What’s more telling is that women “pay” for doing more of the childcare work than do men. When women pause their careers to take care of children, and their careers don’t recover. Assuming we don’t want to punish women for having children, that seems correctable. We could make sure that companies provide either maternity or paternity leave. We could help families pay for childcare. We could take a closer look at jobs where the gap is particularly large and see what’s going on under the hood.
Whatever we do, it shouldn’t be nothing. If you don’t think women’s labor should be worth less than men, or that women should be paying off their student loans for years after men are done, or if you just believe in fairness, then find out what candidates running for office in your state think we should do about the gender pay gap.