Tag Archives: wage gap

So Many Things!

It has been quite a while, my dear Internet friends. I’d apologize for the absence but I’m having way too much fun at my new job to want to apologize for it. The Matilda Effect is still ongoing and I’m truly hoping it lasts forever.

That said, I’ve missed sharing my new stuff with you! So… A few things that have happened since we last spoke (… wrote? read? communicated via pixels?). From newest to oldest:

Show up. Just do it. I wrote about the simple but often un- or under-appreciated value of showing up, especially when it’s cold, you’re busy, and Netflix is calling. This was partly inspired by Wait But Why and Eric Liu’s phenomenal book A Chinaman’s Chance (really just one chapter of it, but seriously, read the whole thing):


On Ego and Exercise. After running my first (and probably only) half-marathon, I wrote about why I exercise and the intersection of ego and self-care.


On slutty slutty Halloween. Every October (this now seems woefully out of date), there are endless think pieces about why girls dress so scantily. I’m so bored of this conversation, so… I wrote another think piece.


On the pay gap and “trusting the system.” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella got into trouble by suggesting that women should just work hard and wait around to be recognized and failed to acknowledge systemic and cultural reasons for the pay gap. Oh yeah, this was at a conference for women in tech…




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Filed under Body Image, Chicago, Gender, Media, Politics, Sports

“Replace the word ‘women’ with ‘people'”

Of course you’ve read the Anne-Marie Slaughter Atlantic piece, “Why Women Can’t Have It All”. You’ve read the responses and the responses to the responses.

So I guess I’m a little late to the game. The article itself was epically long, and it’s only after several conversations and a lot of meta-reading have I decided what I think. And so here it is:


There’s exactly one paragraph, which I’ll get to in a second, that I find even a little bit inflammatory. The rest of it seems to be a list of things I already take for granted.

  • High powered careers are generally incompatible with active, attentive parenting (even if you have help)
  • Women feel more pressure to make caretaking choices
  • Men feel more pressure to make breadwinning choices
  • Everyone should have more choices.


I take for granted that fellow progressive people are in favor of more parent-friendly work policies. We already know that the wage gap is driven by motherhood, not straight gender discrimination (at least, mostly), so it stands to reason that facilitating the work/life balance of parents is a huge step towards closing that gap. Plus, parent-friendly work environments have the added bonus of helping dads get the resources and support they need to be equally engaged parents.

Speaking of fathers, Slaughter’s one controversial point for me was this: “From years of conversations and observations, however, I’ve come to believe that men and women respond quite differently when problems at home force them to recognize that their absence is hurting a child, or at least that their presence would likely help. I do not believe fathers love their children any less than mothers do, but men do seem more likely to choose their job at a cost to their family, while women seem more likely to choose their family at a cost to their job.”

I don’t doubt the premise, but I’m unwilling to peg this on any sort of inherent difference between the fathers and mothers. What evidence suggests this is a “natural” distinction instead of the male response to media pressure, societal expectations, and a culture that rewards men who keep their noses to the grindstone? My college friend, Ryan, agreed to let me repost this from his Facebook, and I think he’s extremely eloquent on the subject :

What happens when you google image “work life balance”

Men can’t have it all either; the difference is, society does not expect us to want it all. Arguments like Slaughter’s showcase a pervasive belief in the gender stereotype that men should not or do not care about “work-life balance”. These types of biases are especially damaging to someone like me who wants to have a high-powered career while being an involved father.

The lack of family contact that is characteristic of most high level positions is a product of the American brand of capitalism and governance; it affects men as well as women and to imply that it affects women more is a slight to both genders. The notion implies that a woman’s desire to care for her family tends to distract her from a high level position and shorten her tenure, while simultaneously implying that men care less about their families, or are less integral to family life.

Besides maternity leave (paternity leave should be the norm as well) and the difficulty of childbirth, women do not have to make any sacrifices for family that a man does not also have to contemplate. However, when we send the message to our men that they are less important in the family, we change the calculus for them, spurring them to choose careers more often, on average. They still have to make the choice, society just forces their hand with stereotypes of “the breadwinner”

….Because of how little merit this article has, in my opinion, I refuse to repost it. Google “Why Women Can’t Have It All” if you want a frustrating read, and replace the word “women” with “people” if you something other than sexist dribble.

He feels pretty strongly, eh? Well I do too.  Reminds me of the Sheryl Sandberg line, “Give us a world where half our homes are run by men and half our institutions are run by women.  I’m pretty sure that would be a better world.” Damn straight.

Related Post: Happy Equal Pay Day

Related Post: Why a quota system for women in Congress is a dumb idea.


Filed under Family, Gender, Guest Posts, Media

Happy Equal Pay Day

Lily Ledbetter shakes hands with President Obama

In 1996, the National Committee on Equal Pay started Equal Pay Day to draw attention to the chronic problem of the wage gap (which is currently at 77.4 cents). In short, the wage gap measures the difference in average pay of a full-time, year-round male worker, and a full-time, year-round female worker.

Consequently, it does account for women taking maternity leave (since they would not be year-round) and it does account for women working part-time or flexible schedules (because they would not be full-time).

It does not account for a few things:

  1. Inequalities in who does what type of jobs (i.e. more women are kindergarten teachers, kindergarten teachers make something between squat and diddly).
  2. Inequalities that are derived from time off that was taken in the past for maternal or child care. (i.e. you took time off last year to have a baby, and relatedly, your promotion was delayed until you’ve “caught up.”)
  3. Inequalities that are derived from negotiating differences (i.e. You and a dude were both offered $50K. You asked for $55K and got $52K, he asked for $60K and got $55K. Now he makes $3K more than you and don’t you feel dumb.)

These are not easy problems to solve. They are wrapped up in stigmas and stereotypes, folded into a cocoon of misguided protectionism, and nested in some baloney “science.”

So how should you celebrate this Equal Pay Day? Do two things. First, listen to the Lily Ledbetter NPR interview. Second, go here and figure out how much money you want to be making. Then, add $15K to account for the disservice you probably did yourself when you estimated. Then go ask for a raise.

Related Post: How to Ace an Interview.

Related Post: Josh says that in jobland, it’s about the cheddar.


Filed under Education, Gender, Politics

Sunday Scraps 16

1. MUSIC: John Legend covering Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” Sidenote: Heard a dance remix of “Rolling” in a Boystown bar last night and it was excellent.

2. SEX SYMBOL: Watch Jon Stewart trade fire with Chris Wallace about comedy, partisanship and the roll of the modern media in politics. Sigh.

3. INTERVIEW: Mac McClelland of Mother Jones participates in the Feministing Five interview series. She never meant to be a reporter, but oh hey, now she’s the Human Rights reporter and bounces from the Congo to Haiti and back.

4. MONEY: Another story on the many factors of the gender pay gap. This one focuses on the skill of negotiating. They’ve got it, I don’t. Let’s fix it.

5. WORK: This was my habit in 4th grade. It worked for about 20 minutes at a time.

6. LESBIANS: Go Magazine has an excellent and varied list of their favorite lesbians. Among them, Autostraddle founder Riese Bernard.

Related Post: Sunday from the Hamptons and Sunday from my couch in Massachusetts.


Filed under Art, Gender, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People