7 Ways The Pay Gap Is Actually Worse Than You Think
It's easy to get complacent in the struggle for equality, but some stark reminders of how deep sexism runs in our country are impossible to ignore. Equal Pay Day falls on April 10 this year and like every year, it's an important reminder of how much women suffer from the gender pay gap. Equal Pay Day represents how long a woman has to work into the following year to be paid the same as a man — and in this case, it's over three months into 2018. Usually the gender pay gap is quoted as women earning 77 cents on the dollar, which is a statistic that the Labor Department found in 2013. The current statistic for 2018, according to the Equal Pay Day website is actually 80 cents on the dollar, which is still a 20 percent penalty. But in a lot of ways, the pay gap is probably worse than you think.
The reasons the gender pay gap is so extreme are multi-faceted and complex, but it's clear that as a society we have some biases that need challenging. "Women should not and cannot be held solely accountable for closing the wage gap," Kelli Dragovich, Hired's SVP of People, tells Bustle. "The issue is largely systemic. For example, when women start with a lower salary at their first job, each promotion, raise or new job is often still less than their male counterparts who started off with higher compensation. Another problem is often employer’s unconscious biases that are hard to detect and even harder to regulate."
Not only do some women feel those biases harder than others, this gap spreads to areas other than just wages. Here are the stats you need to know about the pay gap.
1. Black Women Only Make 63 Cents On The Dollar
Not all pay gaps are the same. When people throw around the 77 cents on the dollar figure or the current statistic of 80 cents on the dollar, that's the average across all women. But some ethnic groups suffer far more than others when it comes to pay inequality. In fact, research from the American Association of University Women found that black women actually only make 63 cents to every white man's dollar.
2. Latina Women Only Make 54 Cents On The Dollar
Other minority groups struggle even more. Latina women only make 54 cents to a white man's dollar — and native women only earn 58 cents. That means some women are basically making just over half of their male counterparts, which is unforgivable.
3. Black Women Earn Less At Every Education Level
Some may assume that some of the pay gap is due to white men having more education than other groups — but that's not the case. Firstly, let's remember that black women are now the most educated group in the entire country. And, even more than that, the Economic Policy Institute found that white men were paid more than black women of comparable education at every education level. It's not about education or experience — it's about bias.
4. The Tampon Tax Takes Even More From Women
It's not just about how much we're being paid for equal work, there are other ways in which women are taxed and lose out simply for being women. For example, the tampon tax will cost a women an average $152.20 over 38 years — and that's not including the cost of buying the tampons or pads. That's just the average cost of the taxes we pay on them over the course of our lifetime. If you add up how expensive it is to buy menstrual products — which can be upwards of $20,000 — it's a pretty staggering cost just for the privilege of bleeding on monthly basis.
5. The Pink Tax Can Cost Women Over $1,300 A Year
Beyond tampons and pads, women also have to face the "pink tax" which is a phenomenon where items that aren't actually gendered at all — razors, deodorants, and more — cost more when it's a "woman's version". Basically, when it's pink, it's pricey. A 2010 study from the University of Central Florida found that women's deodorant costs, on average, 30 cents more than men's. In fact, analysts in California found that the gender-biased pricing costs women $1,351 per year — so it's no wonder that California has banned gendered pricing.
6. Societal Pressure To Look A Certain Way Costs Women
For many women, makeup, skincare, and other maintenance products can cost a bundle. In fact, Marie Claire found that women spend almost $1,500 per year on their morning routine, versus men who came in at just under $700. Now, you could argue that not all women spend a lot on makeup, that it's their choice, etc. And, in a way, that's true — my whole makeup routine consistent of free samples of mascara and eyeliner that I get when I buy sunscreen — but there's no doubt that the societal pressure for women is there. Women are encouraged by society to wear makeup to look "professional" and attractive, we're pressured to remove our body hair, have extensive grooming routines, and be perfumed everywhere. Fulfilling those expectations has a huge cost, and it's not a fair one.
7. $100 Billion In Unpaid Child Support Can Rob Women Of Even More
The amount of unpaid child support is staggering. CNN reports that in 2012 there was over $100 billion in unpaid child support — and 82 percent of custodial parents are women. For low-income mothers, child support makes up around 45 percent of their income, so the fact that so much of it is unpaid can be totally debilitating. It's yet another example of money that women are owed that they're not getting — even when they have children to take care of. It's another form of unpaid labor — in this case, an illegal one — that women have to perform.
For many women of color and marginalized groups, the gender pay gap is incredibly concerning. And when you consider other unfair costs involved in being a woman, the discrepancy can become overwhelming large. The gender pay gap makes women vulnerable, it takes away their agency, and, in some cases, it puts them at risk. And it needs to end.