The Wage Gap – It is still a thing

It is 2021, and yes, the wage gap is still very real.  Women are thought to earn as little as 49 cents for every dollar that men earn1.  Further, the wage gap, like so many things in life presented as a binary issue, is not – non-binary folks have additional socioeconomic challenges from intersecting oppressions that are often not discussed when considering the gender pay gap.  Non-binary folks earn less too2,3.

 

Why? See references below1-4, but broadly:  Interlocking systems of oppression that exacerbate stress and/or make life challenging to harmful.  Gender bias in terms of what people are worth and who’s time is more valuable based on assumed skill or experience.  Also, outdated parenting norms where parents, typically women, miss more work secondary to the needs of their children or others in their care, whittling down job stability and earning potential.

 

How do we stop this? Pay people. If you can afford it, pay women and non-binary folks for their work, as if you were paying a cis/het/white man.  Check you externalized sexism – are you ok with not paying a partnered woman or nonbinary person what they are worth because they have a partner (often assumed to be a man) to fall back on?  Check your internalized sexism – are you ok with making less or selling yourself short because of sexist messaging you have received?, that you are worth less?, that you don’t need your own money because “he” has you covered? (but while we are at it, let’s not blame the victim – the days of gaslighting are over.  She/they need community support and bolstering – pay them).

 

***With systems of oppression and gender bias, it is no coincidence that women and non-binary folks make up many of those living in poverty in the US and worldwide. ***

 

Want to support those women and non-binary folks in small business but you are cash-strapped and also earning less than you deserve?  Look into non-financial methods of support – recommend their business to friends and clients, share their media posts and pages, rate them on media or write recommendations for their website.

 

Finally, let’s reframe how we value someone and their business.  Money is important because that is where our society is, and we, the change agents, have to eat while also pushing the needle and challenging the narrative.  While money is necessary, it is not all there is or the only real purpose to “doing”.  Resist evaluating your value or the value of anyone’s work in strictly financial or productivity measures. (Read more on this resistance here: http://ignitewell-being.com/fit-for-business/ )

 

As a sexuality counselor, educator, and small-business owner, the above matters to me, for a variety of reasons.  Most importantly here, our societal biases and norms surrounding gender and sexuality are limiting and harmful.  The wage gap is a perfect example of the that and the farther reaching, social justice implications of gender.  It is on all of us to learn more and do better as a way to grow a loving society and to pay down the debt of any privilege we were born with.

 

Thanks for reading, community.  Wishing us all well as we work to dismantle toxic systems, biases, and practices, including the wage gap.

 

References:

  1. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/how-big-male-female-wage-gap-
  2. https://www.investopedia.com/wage-gaps-by-gender-5082675
  3. https://nwlc.org/blog/income-security-is-elusive-for-many-transgender-people-according-to-u-s-transgender-survey/
  4. https://www.care.org/ (an organization that helps women and children worldwide)

Note this is NOT meant to be an exhaustive list of resources, please do research this topic on your own.  The wage gap issue applies to all marginalized identities, by race, size, ability.  It is a form of structural oppression and way to reinforce oppression.  Poverty perpetuates poverty.  Further, poverty is a social determinant of health on its own.  My post brushes the surface of an incredibly complex issue, but the points are that 1) the wage gap is real, 2) the wage gap is related to gender (as well as other marginalized identities) and 3) the wage gap goes beyond the binary man/woman dichotomy to include non-binary folks. 

 

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Written by Dr. Allison Mitch (she/her/they/them), wellness practitioner working to awaken and re-center joy and pleasure through Ignite Well-being. PT (DPT), CHEK practitioner, RYT500, sexuality counselor and educator; copyright protected, please cite accordingly.

The image is from mine.

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