Among the hundreds of detailed occupations tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau, women out-earn men in less than 10, the government reported Thursday.
The out-earningest job: tour and travel guide. Women in this occupation make about 115% of their male counterpart’s earnings, according to median data for full-time, year-round workers in 2014.
Looking at the jobs for which women make less than men (that’s most of them), there appears to be a large pay gap for occupations that deal with money. Census reports that women working in certain financial specialties make 54% of their male counterpart’s earnings.
Thanks to our friend Mark for forwarding this Washington Post article on Equipay – a hysterical app-in-the-making that helps friends divvy up their dinner bill, taking into account how institutionalized sexism and racism shape each diner’s income and earning power in the U.S. According to their website, Equipay “doesn’t split the bill equally–it splits it equitably,” and “when dining out with a high privilege group, Equipay automatically adds an EquipayItBack Surcharge…” Not exactly sure where they’re going with that, but I’m in.
Whether it’s wicked clever comedians and/or Beyonce, I firmly believe that humor and pop culture are some of the best ways to get us talking–really talking–about inequality and injustice. And I’m not just referring to politicians and the media. I’m talking about you and me–talking about our own, sometimes conflicting, sometimes reinforcing sets of privileges that we benefit from every day (or not)–the stuff like getting more or less airtime in a meeting; whether most people know how to pronounce your name; living in a safe, walk-able neighborhood; or figuring out how to respond to your kid when she asks, slightly worried, whether her skin is going to get dark like yours.
In addition to generating some deep thoughts, I’m pretty sure this app is going to rock my world because a) I’m not the type of Asian that can solve complicated math problems in her head, and b) I’m pretty sure someone’s gonna eventually have to buy me dinner…
Marie Claire has just published a project about women and guns, describing its series as a look at the “conflicted, dangerous, and empowering truth.”
The accessible piece focuses on a wide variety of topics, such as women in gangs, women’s views on guns and gun ownership, and how the NRA is reaching out to women. A substantial pool of women own guns: About one-in-10 women personally own a firearm, according to a 2015 report from NORC at the University of Chicago.
Here are a few bits from Marie Claire’s work that jumped out at me:
** “Joining a gang isn’t a choice—it’s a default,” Marie Claire writes about the rise of girl gangs.
“All-female gangs are on the rise in many jurisdictions, as well as, female participation and full-fledged memberships within male-dominant gangs are steadily escalating,” the FBI says. “Female gang members typically support male gang members, serving as mules for drugs, couriers for weapons, and gathering intelligence for the gang, although, many are taking more active roles by serving as soldiers or co-conspirators. Female gang members in some jurisdictions are forming their own gang sets and commit violent crimes comparable to their male counterparts.”
** On the NRA: “In the past few years, the NRA’s messaging has developed a distinctly female tone, actively courting women members across ages and gun literacy levels,” Marie Claire writes.
Of note, the narrowing gap for the firearm-ownership rates between men and women (seen in the above chart) is due to men becoming increasingly less likely to own a gun, NORC says.
** On domestic violence: “For women, gun violence happens at home. The most common threat doesn’t come from a stranger. It comes from the person you sleep next to.”
** About personal safety and race: “As a woman, I always have to think about safety. It’s there when I am walking to my car late at night, when I’m in a hotel room in an unknown city, as I lock up my apartment before bed, while strolling through the park… As a black woman, my concerns about safety are multiplied by the nature of my skin. I am forced, increasingly, to worry about police officers who turn their guns, all too often, on unarmed black people,” writes Roxane Gay (@rgay).
Image courtesy of farconville at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Lest you think we’re not here to brighten up your day and make your life easier, here are a few links curated especially for Valentine’s Day. As yet another consumer-driven holiday is upon us, take a few minutes to learn about the women and supply chains that enable us to shower our beloveds with flowers, candy and bling…because nothing says “I love you” like labor exploitation, conflict and environmental carnage!
Flowers and chocolate — “Women toiling in greenhouses in the flower region of Bogotá frequently earn less than $1 a day and endure exploitative working conditions,” according to a 2014 piece in The Guardian citing War on Want, an anti-poverty charity.
Lingerie – Quinne Meyers of The Lingerie Addict writes, “…[The] human aspect is especially important in lingerie manufacturing, where a hand-operated machine or someone with a simple needle-and-thread sews embellishments like tiny bows and cut-out lace. These details are popular on even the most budget-friendly garments, which can lead to factory workers earning well under a living wage … garment workers manufactured every single piece of lingerie we own, regardless of cost. These workers even make the bow-embellished five-for-$25 panties easily picked up at the mall. And when we purchase lingerie from large chain stores and international brands, we typically don’t know anything about the conditions of the factories they use. Is cheap lingerie worth the exploitation of human beings?”
Jewelry–minerals and metals – According to Global Witness, “the mineral trade has funded some of the world’s most brutal conflicts for decades…These resources can enter global supply chains, ending up in our mobile phones, laptops, jewelry and other products…”
And here are a few links and ideas to get you started on your ethical and sustainable Valentine’s Day on…
I’ve been accused of being overly abstract (and irrelevant) when pointing out that the personal is, in fact, political. It’s one thing for thoughtful people who have many forms of privilege–being straight, white, male, among others–to discuss racism and sexism in theory-existing somewhere “out there”, but quite another when they are confronted with the very concrete manifestations in their personal lives and relationships.
So here’s an example of what I see as a very positive and constructive application of theory to practice: the feminist response to the Zika virus. I imagine women in the Americas (myself included) being completely perplexed, if not downright terrified, of the recommendations coming from governments to avoid or delay pregnancy–for up to two years in some cases. It’s one thing if you have access to high quality health care, as most people with means do. But a very different story if you don’t.
Access to contraceptives and safe, legal abortion is severely restricted in many of the countries affected by the Zika virus. Violence, including violence against women, can make it difficult, if not impossible, for women to avoid unprotected sex, and in turn, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (which the Zika virus is suspected of being). And any time states have taken it upon themselves to dictate whether and when to have children, the results have never been good for women. It’s a surefire recipe for abuse and human rights violations, such as coercive or forced sterilization, pregnancy, and termination as well as unsafe abortion.
And what of the right to become pregnant, to have positive pregnancy outcomes for both mother and child, and raise children in a healthy and safe environment? The situation with the Zika virus echoes what’s happening in Flint, Michigan, where parents and caregivers can’t even feed or bathe their children without potential devastating consequences of lead poisoning. The common denominator is that those most affected are poor and minorities, and it’s due to historical, systemic failures of societies to protect the rights and wellbeing of all people–not just the ones with privilege and money.
So back to feminism, this press release issued by the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights and the Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network provides practical advice to governments on a human-rights based response to the Zika virus. Instead of issuing bizarre recommendations that would be difficult for any woman to implement, make sure women have access to comprehensive, high quality sexual and reproductive health care. Make sure we have access to services that will allow us to continue pregnancy if we so choose and the services and resources to address whatever health outcomes we and our children face. Get men involved–tell them to keep it in their pants if they’re worried about sexual transmission and microcephaly. And for God’s sake, stop controlling women’s sexuality and reproductive lives by criminalizing and restricting access to contraceptives and abortion.
It doesn’t make the Zika virus any less scary, but if governments–including the U.S.–took it upon themselves to follow these recommendations, it’d make it a lot easier to cope and make informed decisions about some of the most intimate aspects of your life. That’s what I call a practical application of feminist theory to real life.
Ryan Murphy, the creative force behind TV hits such as “Glee” and “American Horror Story,” is looking to level the playing field for directors, according to news reports.
He’s launching a foundation called “Half” that will aim for 50% of director slots on his shows to be “filled by women, people of color and members of the LGBT community,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In the U.S. women make up about one-third of employed producers and directors, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These are well-compensated jobs, with a mean annual wage of more than $90,000, almost double an average of about $47,000 across all occupations, BLS says.