By Arwa Mahdawi
2 February 2019
Equal pay requires honest discussions
The gender pay gap, as every right-thinking person knows, is a feminist myth. Those figures you’ve seen about white women earning around 80% of what white men make, and black women earning just 61%, are probably wrong. And if they’re not, then, as many conservatives have pointed out, there are rational explanations for the disparity. Such as the fact that, as Jordan Peterson has explained, women are just more agreeable than men, meaning they don’t ask for more money. Which is a very agreeable explanation if you don’t want to confront structural inequality.
While many on the right insist the gender pay gap doesn’t exist, they also appear keen to block legislation that would strengthen equal pay protection and make it easier for employees to share wage information. Which would appear to be a contradictory position. As congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Wednesday “If ‘the wage gap is a myth’ as some allege, then workplaces should have no problem with workers disclosing our salaries with one another.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet followed a news conference in which she, along with other Democrats, re-introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act, which strives to close the gender wage gap by giving women tools to challenge unequal pay. For example, it would stop employers retaliating against workers who discuss their salaries with each other. The bill was first introduced in 1997, but has been repeatedly blocked by Republicans.
While the pay gap has narrowed since 1980, not much progress has been made in the last 15 years. Arguably, one reason for this is the lack of transparency around pay. Most of us don’t know how much our colleagues make, which makes it easier for companies to ignore the issue. Indeed, Lean In’s 2018 Black Women’s Equal Pay Survey found that 50% of Americans aren’t aware of pay gap between black and white women, and hiring managers are also ignorant of the disparity.
Read the full article in The Guardian.