Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Does this mean I only have to do 69% of my job?

Women continue to earn less than their male counterparts. How much less? According to a study done by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, the gap already stands at 20% one year out of college (women making only 80% of what their male peers make). Ten years down the line, the gap widens to a staggering 31% (women making only 69% of what their male peers make).

MRAs* and other douchebags** will argue that this difference either doesn't really exist or can be attributed to education, career choice, maternity issues, space aliens, or a whole host of other factors. Anything, basically, to avoid implicating the vaunted institution of Misogyny(R). But the report is careful to report that
Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the study found that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained. The group said that portion of the gap is “likely due to sex discrimination.”

Now, some of the afore-mentioned douchebags have done some quick math on this and determined that one-quarter of 20% is only 5%, which is basically nothing, if you ask them. But at the ten-year mark, one-quarter of the pay gap is 7.75% that can be attributed to sexism. Even 5% is significant. Statistically and practically.

I've done my own math here, and the result is pretty sickening. If we start with a hypothetical man and woman with similar degrees, similar number of hours worked, etc., in a position that earns the man $50,000 per year, over a typical career his sexism-generated income advantage would be $173,260. (If he earns $50k, she earns $40k one through nine years out of college - and that's keeping the gap absolutely steady for the first ten years for the purposes of this exercise. It's probably a steadier increase. Anyway, one quarter of the $10k/year disparity equals $2500, and over ten years that equals $25k. Starting at year ten, keeping the salaries the same - except boosting the man's salary to reflect the increased gap - the woman will earn $40k to the man's $57,971. One quarter of the $17,971/year disparity is $4492. If we assume they were 22 when they got out of college and are 32 at the ten year mark and that they work another 33 years until retirement at age 65, that's an additional $148,260 that the man will earn over the woman simply due to sexism. Add that to the $25k from the first ten years, and you arrive at the $173,260 figure. This is a conservative estimate based on all the assumptions made for the purposes of the exercise. And the actual gap, remember, is four times that much. What this means is that our hypothetical man's penis is worth roughly $173,260 over his lifetime***, and it's all passive income - unless he's a porn star).

But here's the real message that needs to get out: Even one tenth of one percent of a pay gap attributable to sexism is unacceptable. Otherwise, who gets to decide what percentage of misogyny merits outrage? We certainly can't let the MRAs decide because in their world anything that is less than 98% sexist is for pussies.****

This is 2007, folks. It's time for a zero-tolerance policy on this shit.

*MRA - n., Men's Rights Activist. These people live on a planet on which misogyny is the most abundant element in the atmosphere.

**No one gave me an alternative word after the last solicitation, so douchebag it is.

***If he's a doctor or a lawyer, his penis is worth much, much more. A teacher? Not so much.

****That might be their actual motto.


Amy said...

Good thing the Gender Genie says we are dudes.

Gender Blank said...

Do you think the Genie would give us some sort of certificate we could take into our bosses as proof that we deserve more money?

Amy said...

Actually, I think the Genie should just pay us the difference!