Paying the ladies. It's a pretty simple concept that America can't seem to get (at least according to all the data that say women still make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes). Not to worry though! John Oliver will help us.
There's this annoying little (big) problem in America called the gender pay gap. For those of you who don't know, that's the unfathomable reality that, on average, women in America earn less money than men for the same work. 77 cents to every $1 a man earns to be exact. The good news is that President Obama has said that he cares very deeply about the gender pay gap and is determined to fix it.
But did you know that even the White House has a problem with paying women the same as men?
Yep. Female White House staffers were paid 88 cents for every $1 paid to male staffers. When that little oversight was discovered, the media quickly turned to doing what they do best: debating. Is the gender wage gap actually 88 cents? What about 81 cents? Is it 9%? Or 5-7 cents? John Oliver rightly compared that debate to arguing over someone taking a dump on your desk. Should the amount really matter?
The point is that even in the White House of the United States of America, it seems to be really hard for women to get paid equally. Of course, some people think they have the problem all figured out. The problem is ... drumroll, please ... women!
Women are to blame because they choose to have kids and also choose to enter low-paying professions. So, if we follow that logic, it should mean that if women didn't have children and entered into the same profession as men, there would be no pay gap, right? Wrong. According to the American Association of University Women, the pay gap exists in nearly every profession and affects women who don't have children, not just the moms. Other facts about it? It exists in every single state in the country, grows with age, can't be remedied by higher education, and is worse for women of color. And in case fact-based research isn't enough, there's this cheerful (if cheerful means depressing) anecdote:
A recent study out of Yale presented identical resumes to professors with the only difference being the name: Jennifer or John. What do you think happened? The male candidate was offered, on average, $4,000 more than the female candidate and received more favorable reviews. We have a problem.
So how do we fix it? Well, we can do nothing, or we can buckle down and address pay equity from a serious policy and systems standpoint (introducing new laws, changing corporate practices, talking frankly about sexism in the workplace, sharing more stories so that women feel empowered to negotiate more aggressively, etc.). That's it. Those are our options. (Well, actually, John Oliver does have one more suggestion that makes it worth watching the video to see. Trust me. It involves the term "Ladybucks." You need to see it.)
Now go share this video with all the ladies you know who work hard for the money — and all the men who better treat her right. Or, you know, just EVERYONE.