EDITORIAL

Tired of hearing about equal pay? So are we

Posted

They say 2059 is going to be a great year.

Reality show judge Simon Cowell and parody singer-songwriter Weird “Al” Yankovic will both celebrate their 100th birthdays, while singer Justin Bieber will join the ranks of senior citizens at 65.

Republicans will prepare for their 11th national convention since first crowning Donald Trump as their nominee. And the youngest people who were alive when the city and nation were attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, will be grandparents.

But that’s not the only thing the world has to look forward to in 2059 — it’s also the year when women will finally catch up to men when it comes to pay.

At least that’s the current pace we’re on, according to a report by the American Association of University Women, based on data collected between 1960 and 2016. 

It gets worse, however. Women — who currently make, on average, 80 cents for every dollar a man makes — have seen progress toward pay equality stall since 2001. At that revised pace, according to the report, women and men will earn equal pay in a little more than a century from now, somewhere around 2119.

Everyone thinks they have found the source of pay inequality: Men are just better educated. Women don’t know how to negotiate. Men are more in demand. Women can’t be tough.

But the reality is we as a society haven’t quite left the mentality that men earn a living, and women stay home and tend to the household and family. It’s a systemic issue, one that requires to do more than just demand better pay for women — it requires all of us to truly see everyone as equals, no matter what their gender.

One of the most glaring examples of pay inequality has come out of Hollywood. 

When director Ridley Scott was forced to reshoot scenes of his film “All the Money in the World” to replace disgraced actor Kevin Spacey, box office draw Mark Wahlberg earned $1.5 million extra, while his co-star — four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams — earned a measly $1,000.

Wahlberg’s bigger payday was thanks to a clause forcing the studio to pay if he were called back for reshoots — something Williams didn’t have. And while some might say Wahlberg had more work to do than Williams, it would be hard to say that he had $1,499,000 more work than Williams.

And Wahlberg was Hollywood’s highest-paid actor in 2017, according to Business Insider, earning $68 million. The highest paid actress? That was Emma Stone, who earned just $26 million.

In fact, if you add up the top 10 women in Hollywood, they combined for $172.5 million, compared to a whopping $488.5 million from their male counterparts.

That makes no sense, until you realize actors like Wahlberg can negotiate multi-million dollar deals simply for reshoots, when women are lucky if they can equal the pay of what many middle-class earners get in a week.

By the way, if you think women earning 80 percent of men is bad enough — it gets worse when you see the statistics for women of color. 

In New York, the median income for women in 2016 was $47,358, according to AAUW, compared to $53,124 for men. That’s about 89 cents on the dollar for women — but it’s also the closest to pay parity we’ll find in the nation.

Pay must be based on supply and demand — if there are more open jobs than people available to do them, then pay should go up. But it can’t be based on whether that same employee has to visit the men’s restroom.

The wait is over. We’re 17 years into a new century, a new millennium. And it’s time we start thinking that way.

No one should have to wait four years let alone four decades for wage parity, and it’s time we finally treat women as the equals they are to men.

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