It is not news that, on average, men make more than women to do the same job. This year 12 April is Equal Pay day. From the AAUW website:
Equal Pay Day is the symbolic point at which the average woman's salary finally catches up to the average man's earnings from the previous year. This year, Equal Pay Day falls on April 12.
How fucking much does that suck?!?!!! It really blows my mind that this is state of affairs. It may be that some women "choose" jobs that are lower-paying because it works better for their family. I don't have a problem with this, really. Everyone has to make decisions that are best for their family and situation. It strikes me, however, that it is overwhelmingly the woman that ends up passing on a career for the good of the family. I can't help but wonder about how society exerts pressures on us that maybe we aren't even aware of.
When I was negotiating my faculty position, I had heard that women make less than men on the tenure track because they just don't ask for more. I work at a public institution, and the salaries of all government employees are publicly available. I had also looked up the numbers for my state on the AAUP Faculty Salary Survey. So I knew going in to the negotiations that women in every department of my university makes ~10% less than their male counterparts. I find this rather embarrassing, but the data are there. In fact, other recently hired women in my MRU made significantly less than men. When I got my offer, the salary was lower than what I had been expecting based on my research. So I asked for more. That's the right answer, yes? But when I brought up salary during the negotiations, mentioning what I considered relevant similar salaries. But my Chair did not find this a very convincing argument, even after I raised up the fact that women in the school routinely make less than men. I think that he knew I would probably not walk away from the job over this amount of salary. It was only when I reminded him that I would be bringing in indirect $ from Day 1 (from my R00) that he agreed to talk to the Dean. In the end, I got what I think is a pretty fair deal. Could a man have done better? I don't know. Based on the data, I can only say "probably". Maybe I could have pushed harder. But, being a woman, that could also have backfired.
So I don't know what the right answer is. But today I will advertise Equal Pay Day, and I will attend the local AAUW event. I hope that by raising up this problem, we can start the process of correcting the situation.
h/t to Pascale over at WhizBang, who brought "Equal" pay day to my attention.
UPDATE: Don't miss these other excellent "Equal" Pay Day posts on Scientopia:
And while you are at it, make sure you call your Congress/Senate Critters to make sure they support the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is being reintroduced today.
MOAR UPDATE! Even more "Equal" Pay Day posts at Scientopia