Since the banks are closed to celebrate our mostly-imaginary progress toward a more equal society, let’s take a moment to reflect upon some recent news stories calling attention to inequalities we all knew were there, but most of us were ignoring:
As per usual, gay people get the shaft, and female gay people, being both female and gay, get the shaftiest of the shafts:
“Lesbian couples tend to have much higher poverty rates than either heterosexual or male couples,” according to [a recent report from the Half in Ten program, a campaign by the Center for American Progress and others that aims to reduce poverty by half in 10 years], titled “Restoring Shared Prosperity: Strategies to Cut Poverty and Expand Economic Growth.” “[Older] lesbian couples…are twice as likely as straight married couples to live in poverty.” [via The Advocate]
Sinister forces are at work here, one of which is the fact that women, even today, are paid pennies on the dollar when compared with men with the same backgrounds doing the same jobs. And it’s not that women don’t ask for raises with the same frequency and fervor as men – they do. They’re just not rewarded equally. It follows that a couple made up of two women would have a lower household income than a couple made up of one higher-earning man and one higher-earning woman, or two higher-earning men. From the Washington Post:
“Our recent Catalyst report, The Myth of the Ideal Worker, reveals that women do ask for raises and promotions. They just don’t get as much in return.
The research focused on career paths of high-potential men and women, drawing on thousands of MBA graduates from top schools around the world. Catalyst found that, among those who had moved on from their first post-MBA job, there was no significant difference in the proportion of women and men who asked for increased compensation or a higher position.
Yet the rewards were different.
Women who initiated such conversations and changed jobs post MBA experienced slower compensation growth than the women who stayed put. For men, on the other hand, it paid off to change jobs and negotiate for higher salaries—they earned more than men who stayed did. And we saw that as both men’s and women’s careers progress, the gender gap in level and pay gets even wider.”
The Advocate ran the first story under the header of “shocking inequality,” but is it really? Anyone with half an eye open already knew we were getting shafted. What’s truly shocking is that until now I’d never seen any research on the subject at all.