The Wage Gap: What’s really holding women back?

Posted: Oct 19 2017

The Wage Gap - Whats holding women back

Photo Credit: Bella Karragiannidis 


So often, powerful working women speak out and say that despite working harder than their peers, and despite being more qualified for their jobs, they are held back just because they don’t have a penis. However, while these women have gotten far from fair treatment, this couldn’t be further from the truth.


Now before you roll your eyes and close your browser, let’s get one thing straight – all sorts of wage gap exist, and there’s no denying that. Women are definitely disadvantaged compared to men. Beyond that, there are so many sociological factors that vary from field to field, and create other inequitable gaps in pay – race and disability being key factors (though statistics on the later are much harder to track).


In fact, chances are, the majority of people in the world are going to be experiencing more than one of these gaps determining throughout their careers. Based on 2016 statistics, on the White man’s dollar...

- White women on average make ¢79.5

- Black men make ¢70

- Black women make ¢62.5

- Hispanic men make ¢64.5

- Hispanic women make ¢57

- Asian women make ¢88

The outlier, Asian men, who make a larger $1.12, obscures the fact that while median income is higher, racism’s impact is still seen when it comes to things like the blind spot in resources for older Asian people living in poverty. So, with all these statistics, why doesn’t it make sense to direct some of the blame for this onto the parts we get born with? Well, for one thing, Hispanic women’s pay has more in common with Hispanic men’s pay than it does with white women’s pay. But that doesn’t prove anything because a wage gap by gender still exists across the board in each of the sweeping racial categories used in the survey. So why is it that parts don’t make the difference? Well, because women come in all shapes and sizes.


Transgender women (that is, women who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth), regardless of certain features and body parts, still only manage to make ¢5 less than their cisgender counterparts (women who do identify with their assigned gender at birth). Meanwhile, transgender men, regardless of their parts, manage to make an average slightly higher than what they did before they transitioned. It turns out that having certain body parts doesn’t automatically make you immune to sexism. Even though they are a small part of the overall population, the fact that working transgender women in particular are marginalized across the board means it’s important not to talk like having a dick would make it easier for women to succeed!


For a long time, many women trying to combat the wage gap only brought up statistics surrounding white cisgender women’s wages, but if there’s anything to learn here, it’s that even if women earn less than male counterparts across the board, most of the population has a reason to come together to fight wage inequality. It’s not the wrong body holding women back, but a society that disadvantages most women in multiple ways, and until we start thinking about all those ways together, we can’t solve the bigger problem!


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