Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Musings

I was going to skip the Oscar's last night, in part because I am so disgusted about the lack of people of color in the nominees.  But I did watch, and I'm glad I did.  Patricia Arquette's impassioned plea for equal pay and equal rights for women in this country blew me away.  Like she said, women have been fighting for everyone else's rights, it's time to fight for ours.

In the early 1980s I was working at a photo lab as their custom color printer.  A coveted position.  Hard work demanding substantial expertise.  Lots of last minute 'RUSH' orders from commercial photographers who were trying to meet a deadline.  I was one of three women there, in a male-dominated environment.  I don't remember why or how I was tipped off that the women were all earning less than the men.  The women all had technical positions.  We were making less than the male staff who worked at the front desk taking orders and ringing up the cash register.  While there's nothing wrong about that work, it does not demand the kind of expertise the technical positions demanded.

So I got a burr under my saddle and started asking all the men if they would share what their salaries were.  I was astounded.  And then, I was in trouble.  I got called into the boss' office and told that I was a trouble maker and if I didn't stop this line of inquiry, I would lose my job.  The boss actually had the audacity to tell me I didn't need the money because I was married, and that I'd probably go off and get pregnant any way.  Women -- it seemed -- were just not a good investment.  (Oh, but they ARE a good investment - think of all the money you save by paying them lower wages.)

Patronizing, much?  From WomenWorking.com
Decades later, here we are, still getting paid less over our lifetimes.  And, the pay gap increases as we get older.  Just when we need the income most, it goes down.  Again.

Lesbians, women of color, and transgender people have it even worse.  Lesbian households earn less than gay male households.  Just think:  two lower paid individuals pooling resources compared to two higher earning households.  The gap between lesbian families and gay male families is staggering.

It makes me madder than hell.

What about Patricia Arquette is trending on twitter today?  Calls for equal pay? No.  What has captured people's imagination is the Jesus-like image of Jared Leno as he stands in the background while she speaks.

Christ on a Bike, people.

4 comments:

  1. Some things never change. Inequality has worked forever. Why stop a successful trend? Keep making trouble, Tara, it's the only way voices get heard.

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  2. And those who say politics should not be mentioned at the Oscars... which mean I guess talk about silly stuff but heaven forbid it be something that impacts real lives and that the movie was pointing out. We are still in a patriarchy with a few women breaking through the glass ceiling but mostly those who had a partner who gave them the clout. It isn't right. Especially since a lot of women end up raising their kids on their own!

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