King offers insight on gender wage gap

You can’t begin to address the problem when you don’t have all of the facts — and in a recent interview, Billie Jean King made sure all the facts were available on the gender wage gap.

According to HuffPost, the tennis phenom sat for an interview alongside Emma Stone — who will play King in the forthcoming film, “Battle of the Sexes” — for Out Magazine, where the duo discussed the gender wage gap, among other topics. Stone, who brought up the issue, not only mentioned that women are “at our best right now making 80 cents to the dollar,” HuffPost says she also discussed pay inequality in relation to Hollywood.

Describing it as a function of “the kinds of films you’re a part of, the size of your role, how much the movies make at the box office,” HuffPost says Stone concluded women “in general, are making four fifths at best.”

King, however, elaborated on the asterisk on that statement that so often goes unnoticed: differences in pay based on ethnicity.

“If you’re African American or Hispanic it goes down,” King said, according to HuffPost, “and then Asian Americans make 90 cents to the dollar.”

Thanks to King, we can see that pay inequality isn’t a one-size-fits-all issue; it is, as many things are, much more complex.

According to a 2016 Pew Research study, while white women make 82 percent of what white men earn, black women only earn 65 percent of that. Hispanic women fare much worse, taking home 58 percent of a white man’s earnings. Asian women come the closest to pay parity, earning 87 percent as much as white men.

Hopefully, understanding the breadth and depth of the issue will help us take steps to address the problem for all women.

Oregon governor signs equal pay law

Oregon just took a major step to make equal pay a reality.

According to a news release published on the Oregon Business Report, Governor Kate Brown signed into law the Equal Pay Act of 2017, a law that aims to “address pay disparities among women, minorities and other protected classes.”

The release says that the new law blocks employers from “compensating certain protected classes” — which are defined by characteristics such as race, sex, marital status and disability, among other things — less than their co-workers for work “requiring substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions.”

Furthermore, the law explains the circumstances in which pay is considered “lawful,” which includes instances in which pay differences are doles out based on merit, seniority, quality or quantity of work or experience level. The act even affects employers in the hiring process, outlawing the act of learning a candidate’s previous pay and setting their current pay at a rate equivalent to that of their previous or current position.

Let’s hope other states soon follow suit!

Iceland to require gender pay equality

Iceland is leading the way for women to achieve equal pay in the workplace.

According to Fortunethe country marked International Women’s Day by “becoming the first country in the world to require that businesses prove they offer equal pay to their employees.”

Mandatory for both public and private companies, Fortune says the law mandates that all companies that employ more than 25 staff members to secure a certificate that confirms their commitment to pay equity “‘regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or nationality.'”

With Iceland pioneering this move toward pay parity, let’s hope other countries begin to follow suit.

What feminism means to me

As I follow the Women’s Marches around the United States and around the world today, I cannot help but reflect upon hundreds of thousands of people — likely millions — gathered in support of a just, equal society for all. I am proud of the women and men that are demonstrating peacefully, standing in solidarity for their fellow human beings.

But I also wish that I could have physically participated in a march. And that, dear friends, has spurred me to write, something that for me has always felt powerful and assertive and, in many ways, makes me feel connected to those participating in demonstrations today. My words are printed; they are permanent. And the permanence of my words feels like the promise of permanent change — the very goal of these marches.

But what also gives me power is feminism. I am a feminist. I believe in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s definition of feminism posits. I believe in a feminism that is inclusive of all women: straight, non-binary and LGBTQ+ women, women of all races, income levels, locations and circumstances.

I believe these things because I have felt the power in women supporting women, and I have seen how such support can embolden women to speak their minds, to own their bodies and assert their presence. I have come to believe these things because I have come to see their fruitful results.

So for me, feminism is not merely an assumed ideology or a lofty set of beliefs. To me, feminism is sticking up for your fellow woman, fighting not only for yourself but on behalf of your sister. It is empowering her, supporting her and pushing her to achieve her full potential.

It means securing the equality and liberties due to women of all circumstances without taking away from our male counterparts; it means serving as equals, knowing that there is enough of the proverbial “pie” to go around.

It means encouraging our mothers, sisters, friends, daughters and fellow women to respect their bodies, brains and hearts — and commanding others to respect them just the same.

It means teaching girls that they can do anything boys can, and teaching boys that being sensitive or contemplative is just as good as (or perhaps better than) being tough.

To me, feminism isn’t just about women. It’s about all of us. Because when one group succeeds, we all succeed.



Portman imparts pay gap wisdom

The gender pay gap has certainly impacted the women of Hollywood: from Jennifer Lawrence and Hilary Swank to Robin Wright and Emmy Rossum, both film and television actresses alike have often been paid much less than their male co-stars. But that’s not stopping them from speaking out on the issue to incite change.

According to the Huffington Post, Natalie Portman is the latest to discuss a moment in her career when she was paid less than what she now realizes she deserved. In the Jackie star’s interview with Marie Claire UKthe Huffington Post says Portman shared that for their film No Strings Attached, her co-star Ashton Kutcher earned “three times as much” than her for their work on the film, which was released the same year she won an Oscar for her role in Black Swan (2011).

“‘I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with ‘quotes’ in Hollywood,’ she said in the magazine’s February cover story. ‘Your quote is the highest you’ve ever been paid. His quote was three times higher than mine so they said he should get paid three times more.'”

Looking back, however, HuffPost says Portman shared, “I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been! I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain. But the disparity is crazy.”

Also noting that “in Hollywood we are making 30 cents to the dollar,” Portman said that the pay disparity also indicates a lack of opportunity for women, according to HuffPost.

“We just have a clear issue with women not having opportunities,” she said. “We need to be part of the solution, not perpetuating the problem.”

‘Les Glorieuses’ fight for pay equity

The fight for pay equality isn’t just an issue unique to the United States — it affects women around the world. But women in France are not going to take it anymore.

According to Women in the World, French women’s rights activists encouraged women to leave work at exactly 4:34 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7, all in an effort to shed light on pay equity in the workplace.

Marking the time that women stop being paid at their jobs according to the pay gap in France, Women in the World says the exact time was calculated by feminist group, Les Glorieuses. “In other words,” Women in the World reports, “women must work 38.2 more days per year than men to earn the same salary.”

A protest followed their exodus from work, with many of the photos being posted to social media with the hashtag, “#16H34,” says Women in the World.

Referring to the time women could stop working if they were paid a similar wage to men, Women in the World says the feminist group’s newsletter explained, “If women were paid as much as men, they could stop working on November 7 at 16.34” — a problem they argue “hides other inequalities. Women also do unpaid work, like household tasks.”

While the protests did disrupt the workday, it did draw support from France’s women’s rights minister Laurence Rossignol, according to Women in the World.

“When women protest, they make visible what is invisible,” Rossignol told Le Parisien, Women in the World reports. “I support them.”


Swank talks of pay-gap problems

Hilary Swank — best known for her Oscar-winning role in Million Dollar Baby — knows that, while the gender pay gap may be starting to dwindle, it is still a very real thing. That’s because she’s felt the effects of it herself.

According to Indiewire, the actress sat down with Chelsea Handler, Connie Britton and Ava DuVernay on Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea, on Wednesday, Oct. 19 for a “women’s dinner party” to “chat about, amongst other things, what it’s like to be a woman in the entertainment world.”

That’s when Swank spilled the beans about how she’d been affected by the pay disparity throughout her career, mentioning that for her first Oscar-winning role in Indie film Boys Don’t Cry, she only earned $3,000, says Indiewire. But after winning her second Oscar for Million Dollar Baby, Indiewire reports she was “offered the leading female role in a film opposite a popular male actor who hadn’t had much in the way of critical success … but who was still slated to receive a paycheck twenty times fatter than Swank’s.”

The male actor, says Indiewire, would have made $10 million, while Swank would have earned a mere $500,000 had she accepted the role — which prompted Britton to gasp while giving voice to what all viewers must have been thinking in that moment: “What are you talking about?”

To hear Swank tell the story in her own words, click here.


Apple closes U.S. pay gap

It seems like Apple has been busy doing more than just creating a new iPhone and MacBook.

According to MAKERSGlamour has reported that the tech innovator has “announced it has closed the gender wage gap among its U.S. employees — and pledges to close any remaining gaps worldwide as soon as possible.”

In its annual diversity report, Apple shares that they have “achieved pay equity in the United States for similar roles and performance. Women earn one dollar for every dollar male employees earn,” says Glamour, while also increasing their number of global female employees and minority employees, both jumping up 6 percent.

But, Glamour’s report points out that others also benefited from this push for equal pay, with “underrepresented minorities” also earning “one dollar for every dollar white employees earn.”

Apple follows several major companies who have opted for equal pay, says Glamour, including Facebook, Microsoft and even Amazon, who have all publicly shared their initiatives to close the pay gap.

All of their efforts are just one more small step to further securing equal pay for not only women, but also minorities in the United States and beyond.

Closing the pay gap

A new law in the state of Massachusetts may bring the United States one step closer to closing the gender pay gap that has long persisted in the American workplace.

According to The Cut, on Monday, Aug. 1, Governor Charlie Baker (R) “signed into law a bill making it illegal for employers to ask prospective employees for their salary histories before offering them a job.”

The first state to pass such means, the law now makes it mandatory for Massachusetts employers to state a salary’s position outright, reports The Cut, instead of allowing the applicant to share their personal salary history. The Cut frames the potential benefits of the new law this way:

“This effort is one big step in attempting to correct years of women getting paid less for the same jobs as men, because it ostensibly prevents a company lowballing a woman based on her gender and previous salary history. It instead forces companies to look at her relevant experience first.”

Also aiding in the fight against the pay gap is that the law makes it illegal for companies to forbid employees from sharing their salaries with each other, which allows for greater salary transparency, according to The Cut. This makes Massachusetts the 13th state with such a measure in place, The Cut reports.

While The Cut says the law will be officially enacted in July 2018, others may follow suit in the mean time.

Lawrence Discusses Pay Gap

If females in the public eye are seen as role models for young women, Jennifer Lawrence is trying her best to use her fame to do just that.

According to The Huffington Post, the 25-year-old actress discussed her recent essay on the pay gap with Charlie Rose of CBS News, citing the Sony hack as the impetus for becoming more vocal on the issue. The hack, which “revealed that Lawrence was being paid much less than her male colleagues,” made her realize “there was no one to blame but myself,” she said.

Lawrence explained that it wasn’t Sony’s fault for her lower pay, but instead her own fault for not speaking up. “I feel awkward negotiating, I feel uncomfortable asking for more money. I don’t want to seem like a brat,” she said.

As she gets older, Lawrence has found that she is still learning how to not only advocate herself, but also advocate on behalf of other women. “As I get older and I learn more and I have opinions I go: ‘I have just as much of a right to speak and with something like that, with something that’s so clearly unfair, if I don’t use my voice for women who don’t have a voice then what’s the point?'”

In another portion of the interview, The Daily Beast says that Lawrence expressed her hopes of becoming more comfortable dealing with uncomfortable topics. “I want to be that person who will say that thing that’s really hard to say, that’s really awkward and really difficult,” she said. “One day I want to be able to just say it, and not make a joke, and not try to make it cute, but to just say it.”