Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Show Women the Money!

Today is Equal Pay Day; a reminder to men everywhere that women are superior. Women are smarter, better at multi-tasking, and tolerate pain better (ahem, childbirth). Oh, and women can grow babies in their bodies while being smarter, better at multi-tasking, and generally ruling the world. Let's not forget taking care of men who barely survive the common cold or, heaven forbid, the flu. All this for 79 cents on the dollar. Not a bad deal...for a man.

If you're looking for evidence let me point you to the efforts at Huffington Post. A great piece by Catherine Pearson provides both data and anecdotal stories providing evidence that women are underpaid. The most glaring example comes from the world of soccer/futbol where members of the US National Women's Team filed suit with the EEOC alleging wage discrimination against the US Soccer Federation. The women generated $20 million more in revenue than the men and won the World Cup. Co-Captain Carli Lloyd wrote that, while she received a $75,000 bonus for winning the World Cup, the men would have received a bonus approaching $400,000. Let's take moment to ponder the lunacy of the US men winning the World Cup. A sizable bonus does seem acceptable given the miracle it would take to accomplish such a feat. According to ESPNW, the "women would earn $99,000 each if they won 20 friendlies, the minimum number they are required to play in a year. But the men would likely earn $263,320 each for the same feat, and would get $100,000 even if they lost all 20 games." This is a sport where, in the US, the women are more talented, win regularly, and generate more revenue than the men. If that is not the business case for equal pay....actually, the women should make significantly more than the men in soccer/futbol.

It is no better for women who shatter the glass ceiling. According to Fortune, more than 80 percent of female CEOs in the Fortune 1000 have families and are CEOs of fortune 1000 companies. However, when the Associated Press published the 2015 list of the 10 highest paid CEOs only one was a woman. The top two male CEOs made more than the top 10 female CEOs combined. Part of this may be because in top companies male CEOs far outnumber women; which simply proves the glass ceiling is still in place.

You're probably amazed and enlightened by all this but thinking "Fortune 1000 CEOs and global sports is a little different than the real world". Actually, it's not. Right here in our backyard it happens all the time. The Buffalo Bills are facing a lawsuit by former Buffalo Jills cheerleaders who claim they were paid below minimum wage and required to attend events without pay. The team, recently purchased by a multi-billionaire, said it will continue to fight the allegations. According to American FactFinder*, the median income for men in the 14052 zip code is $53,654. By comparison, the median income for women in the same zip code is $32,070. That's a difference of more than $20,000 and the local numbers are not much different than the national numbers.

It is time to pay women the $0.22 they are rightfully owed.  Our wives, daughters, colleagues and friends deserve better. Women have earned it for years. Women will get up tomorrow, and everyday, to earn it again. This is not just a women's issue. This is a family issue. This is an equality issue. Equal pay for women is just one step in the fight for equality but it is an important one. It's 2016, let's start acting like it.

*S2401 Occupation by Sex and Median Earnings in the Past 12 Months (in 2014 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) for the Civilian Employed Population 16 Years and Over. ZCTA5 14052.

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