"20 Percent Counts" Video From Lean In Illustrates How Alarming The Pay Gap Is In Common, Everyday Terms — VIDEO
Today is Equal Pay Day, and women all over the world are celebrating how we make the same money as men. Just kidding! We still make roughly 20 percent less on average (and even less than that if you're anyone other than a white, straight, cisgender woman) — and this video about the gender pay gap from LeanIn.org serves as a humorous but startling reminder that women's work is still deemed less valuable by our society at large. Yes, even though this is 2017 and science is able to grow body parts in labs and build cars that can drive themselves. No, it does not make any sense. And that is exactly why we still need Equal Pay Day.
The video, made with Hulu and Funny or Die as part of Lean In's #20PercentCounts campaign, depicts women getting 20 percent less of everything as they go about their daily lives — 20 percent less of a haircut, 20 percent less of a cup of coffee, and a cell phone dying when it still has 20 percent battery left. One black woman receives even less coffee than the white woman next to her, mirroring the fact that the pay gap is substantially worse for women of color; meanwhile, the white man standing next to both of them gets a steaming cup of coffee filled to the brim. All of these women are expected to just be "happy with what they've got" — an attitude we've held toward gender inequalities for far too long. It's a feigned satisfaction that women have displayed under the misguided belief that this is "just the way things are."
Lean In, a nonprofit organization, was founded by Sheryl Sandberg — COO of Facebook and all-around badass — with one objective in mind: To empower women and help them pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. And although women have made great strides in terms of equality in recent years and generations, the numbers are still concerning.
The Economic Policy Institute says that last year, women earned 22 percent less than men; what's more, it gets worse for black woman, who make 63 percent of what white men make, and Latina women, who make 54 percent, according to the National Women's Law Center. There's more bad news for women as they age, too, as research shared by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has found that the gender pay gap widens after around the age of 35.
Add to this the unpaid labor we perform every day (like housework and childcare) and the pink tax — the way in which women's products tend to cost more than men's — and our personal finances aren't looking too hot. This doesn't simply come down to money. It's about so much more than the numbers on our paychecks or what we pay for certain items; it's this lingering mentality that, in our culture, what we do isn't worth as much as what men do — that we aren't worth as much as men are.
It's a depressing realization knowing that even if we have equal education (or even better education), our time, knowledge, and efforts are still worth 20 percent less to the world at large, just because of our genders.
These are some of the ideas that Lean In's video asks us to ponder. You can also continue this discussion with Sandberg's book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. As part of #20PercentCounts, for today, Lean In is offering 20 percent discounts partnering with LUNA, Lyft, and hundreds of other businesses in the United States. Sandberg and Lean In want to remind us that everything matters — even 20 percent.
Watch the full video above.