March Madness: The Pay Gap is Madness


The Equal Pay Today Campaign is a project of Equal Rights Advocates which is a collaboration of national, regional and state-based women’s legal advocacy and worker justice groups in the US whose mission is to “eradicate the long-standing gender wage gap impacting the economic security of women and families.” How long is long-standing, you ask?

Great question. Is 1967 long-standing? It is to me. I entered the work force that year when the average wage for women was 58 cents for every dollar paid to men. My starting salary at my first job at an international CPA firm in Houston, Texas was $650 per month. I was a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin business school with an accounting major. I was assigned to the firm’s team in their small business division where I sat in a cubicle next to a guy named John who came into the firm at the same time I did but with average grades. Through a random conversation he let slip that his salary was $950 per month. I calculated my compensation was 68 cents for every dollar John earned. The gender gap slapped me in the face and never stopped slapping me during the next 40 years in every workplace I encountered.

The following image and facts are from the equalpaytoday.org website:

EPD.jpeg

82 cents: that’s how much women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are paid for every dollar paid to men. This year, we’re raising awareness around this pay gap with our theme March Madness: The Pay Gap is Madness. 

Women’s Equal Pay Day marks the day into the year on which it takes for women on average to earn what men did in 2020.

That’s 15 months. Or, if you look at a typical 9:00-5:00 work day, women start working for free at 2:40 p.m.

While March 24th is the average for all women, the Equal Pay Day for Black women is August 03rd because they average 63 cents for every dollar paid to men, for Native women equal pay day is September 08th because they earn 60 cents for every dollar paid to men, for Latina it’s October 21st because they earn 55 cents for every dollar paid to men.

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In addition to the wage gap inequity, Covid-19 has been particularly devastating for women. According to MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski more than 2.5 million women have fallen out of the workplace in the past year as a result of the pandemic.  Newly appointed Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo called the gender disparities “unacceptable and immoral” today in an interview with Ms. Brzezinski. Secretary Raimondo went on to say the Biden administration had acknowledged the needs of women in the American Rescue Plan that includes higher education opportunities for them, assistance with child care which is a huge stumbling block for women who want to work and an overall training up designed especially for women.

March Madness is a reality in our home where we are focused on the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Our  University of South Carolina Gamecock women’s team won their second round game which places them in the Sweet 16 – that’s some kind of fun for us. But March Madness: The Pay Gap is Madness also hits home with Pretty and me, and that’s never been fun. 

The gender gap has been alive and well in the 2021 NCAA women’s basketball tournament, too. University of Oregon forward Sedona Prince posted a video showing the women’s weight room consisted of a single set of dumbbells while the men’s weight room was stocked with rows of weights and dumbbells. Her video went viral and had millions of hits. The uproar from players, coaches, fans and colleges around the country produced an apology from the NCAA…and a speedy delivery for a state of the art weight room for the female athletes.

What do we want? Fair pay. (and comparable accommodations for women in sport)

When do we want it? Now.

For everything there is a season, the Bible says, and a time for every purpose unto heaven. I think the pandemic has shined a light on a season whose time has past. Let’s get it right.

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Stay safe, stay sane, get vaccinated and please stay tuned.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Nana to her granddaughter Ella James born 10-01-2019. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, sports, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to March Madness: The Pay Gap is Madness

  1. Wayside Artist says:

    I just read your essay minutes after finishing an unhinged rant at the dogs over how expensive my health insurance has become. How disgraceful insurance and pay rates are in this supposedly greatest country on earth. Then here you roll in with receipts. You will call it, Sheila, and you call it right!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As Pretty once commented when we first met, “insurance companies are the scum of the earth.” If you recall, at that time I was an insurance agent.
      She may have been on to something. Women are punished in the health insurance marketplace – rewarded in the life insurance premiums. But the rewards don’t ever even out with the punishments.
      You will call it, too, Ann.
      And you call it right!
      P.S. I hope your dogs were more interested in your rants than mine usually are.

      Like

  2. Wayside Artist says:

    They rolled their eyes as usual. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Unbelievable it’s still so FAR off parity. Megan Rapinoe is getting lots of coverage over here.

    Liked by 1 person

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