Bill O’Reilly believes that “income inequality is bull. Nobody gives you anything, you earn it.”
Texas Governor Rick Perry is frustrated that politicians are being distracted by such “nonsense.”Fox News reporter Doug McKelway insisted that the gender wage gap is “a myth that has endured for years,” and his Fox colleague Jim Angle declared that it is “not a national problem.”
And Rush Limbaugh attests that women making 77 percent of what a man makes is “B.S.”
For once, Limbaugh is right. The 77 percent figure is “B.S.” but not for the reasons he thinks. The number is wrong not because it doesn’t account for choice, or because it’s been manipulated by feminazis.
By lumping all women together to derive the 77 percent figure, we’re missing a vital part of the story.
In 2012, Asian American women made about 87 percent of what white men made.
White, non-Hispanic women made about 78 percent.
Then, there is a huge drop.
Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders made about 66 percent of what white men made.
African American women only made 64 percent.
American Indian and Alaska natives suffer from a 60 percent pay gap.
Hispanic and Latina women, who make up half of the dominant minority group in the US, made little more than half of what white men made, at just 53 percent.
There is also a consistent wage gap within each racial group, averaging out to about 85 percent.
It should be noted that white women on average earn more than men of every other racial group (except Asian Americans). And don’t even get me started on LGBTQ women (check back for that blog soon).
At the intersection of race and gender, we can see that the wage gap isn’t about choice.
Hispanic and Latina women make up about 8.45 percent of the US population. To say that these women in aggregate are working half as hard as white men, or making decisions that are half as good, ignores the reality of racism and classism on these women’s lives. Maybe their employers aren’t blatantly or consciously prejudiced, but the oppressions these women face have very real effects on their employment opportunities.
The wage gap is not a myth. It is not B.S. It certainly is not nonsense. But the way the pay gap is approached is BS, because various, intersecting forms of oppression are being ignored. That is what #RealPay is about.
Equal Pay Day is April 8th, marking the day (white) women’s median pay finally catches up with men’s median pay of the previous year. In other words, it takes (white) women about 15 months to make what a man makes in only 12.
#RealPay recognizes that it takes black women another month to catch up. Hispanic and Latina women have to work an additional two and a half months.
So mark your calendars! Black women’s Equal Pay Day is May 11th. Hispanic and Latina women have to wait until June 17th rolls around.
Women’s rights activists and conservative pundits alike need to take a look at women’s #RealPay.
You can see how intersections of identity affect your income with this site powered by the Economic Policy Institute.