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Women, Pay, and Equality

In 2010, women still make 77 cents to every dollar men make. We deconstruct the numbers, and look at the status of women today.

(Credit: flickr/clarissa)

National Equal Pay Day came and went this week, marking the 110 more days women would have to work into this year to break even with the wages men made last year.

The ratio right now for women’s wages to men’s is 77 cents to the dollar. It’s a vast improvement over 57 cents to the dollar, a generation ago. But it’s still a yawning gap. 

In this recession, where more women than men have kept their jobs, there are some changes underway to how the bread is being brought home to the dinner table. 

The wage inquality remains, though. “Equal pay for equal work,” remains the mantra.

Some attribute the gap to a broken, patriarchal system that still needs to be fixed. Others say it’s choice and motherhood.  

This Hour, On Point: Women, equality, and the workforce.  


Jessica Bennett, senior writer for Newsweek, where she covers cultural affairs, social trends, and women’s issues. Her blog is “Equality Myth.”

Read Jessica’s piece on “Tracking the Wage Gap” at Newsweek.com

Caitlin Flanagan, writer for the Atlantic and the author of “To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife.”

Nancy Koehn, historian and professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School.

See the Harvard Business Review’s feature on “Women and the Pay Gap

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  • msreason

    Oh PLEASE, not Caitlin Flanagan! Talk shows like yours keep including her in discussions like these, despite the fact that she has nothing useful to say about about most women’s lives in this country, and even less about feminism. I’ve tried to read her books and her columns in The Atlantic, but her “arguments” invariably turn out to be nothing more than personal anecdotes about her less-than-typical life. She continually takes a moral tone about stay-at-home motherhood, yet fails to acknowledge that most of us do not share her pampered lifestyle, complete with nanny and other support staff.
    Give me a break!

    I am, however, intrigued by Ms. Bennett, after reading her blog. She and her partners are refreshing!

  • Todd

    Seventy-seven cents to the dollar, according to whose statistics? This hour is as much about perpetuating the victim status of feminists as it is about equal pay.

    Ironically, if women would embrace the essence of their own gender, instead of trying to grow a penis, they would likely have men’s dollars without even having to work for it!

    Feminism is the knife that women have used to cut off their own noses to spite their face.


    Since when was nursing a low paying job?? Nurses @ here make 70-80K/year


    Todd, Get your head out of your butt.

    Wait until you find out some woman is making more than you for the same job,experience, or schooling. Oh wait, that probably won’t ever happen!

    The only reason woman have made the strides they have is because of feminism, not in spite of it.

  • Steve

    More men than women are unemployed because there is a wage gap.

    There seems to be a cry of discrimination every time a group is paid differently. It has nothing to do with gender, race, religion, or any other classification. The simple fact is that businesses will take jobs from the highest paid for a given position without regard for gender, race, etc. Business is equally ruthless for everybody.

    Without an EOE quota companies will always hire people at the lowest pay scale the employee will accept.

    There is no argument that discrimination has always existed and biases continue to exist. Unfortunately we will never end stupidity.

    Steve in Nashville

  • andrea

    Whoah! When I hear a woman say “we want reception jobs, hostess jobs”, my skin crawls! My mother did not burn her bra in the 60′s to hear a woman say that. This is where the real issue is…what does it mean to be a woman, and what is she being taught about her abilities…and why doesn’t she reach out for something other than the bottom cluster. (Your guest is missing this point entirely.) I am programmer and I disagree wholeheartely with the idea that women “want” to work in those crappy jobs.

    Can you please get some women in the top fields–NOT former school teachers– in on this conversation. Uh!

  • Wait one minute…

    Questions for guest:

    Are women more reluctant to ask for more money or collectively bargain. I find that often women are competitive with each other but not with men?

    Are gay women different from straight women in what they do, what they bring home, and the level of cooperation with other women in bargaining for greater pay?

  • http://louisebriggs.com Louise Briggs

    How do other developed countries compare to the U..S. ?

  • Wait one minute…

    Are women bosses more likely to pay men and women fairly?

  • Jim

    One of the guest alluded to women “rushing home for dinner” and “helping the elders”. I think that is too, too general. Men, like me, have been allocated to do most or all of those duties. I don’t mind have equal pay. however, if we have equal pay men should have equal treatment in divorce cases, which is not the case today. in divorce women are always right, which explains why america has such high divorce rate.

  • Ed Cobb

    Are there any studies on the relative productivity of women vs. men?

  • Wait one minute…

    The mancession needs to broken out. the construction industry boom was connected to the financial industry boom. Aren’t a lot of these blue collar guys now leading the charge against finanacial reform?

  • Norman

    I am offended by the suggestion that men are not carry the same psychological weight for caring for kids and parents as women. It is a big part of my the life and lives of men that I know. It is the burden of being a parent of a son/daughter – not of being a man/women To suggest otherwise is dismissive of men’s contribution to family, and suggests that your guests may be out of touch with modern society.

  • http://donunger.com/booknews.htm Don Unger

    Guests have talked about women “having to” be caregivers and the impact this has on pay and career. Women don’t “have to” do these things. We make choices and we make those choices as families. Men are now beginning to stay home and care for kid; families are beginning to work out more equitable divisions of domestic labor.

    I write about this in “Men Can: The Changing Image & Reality of Fatherhood in America,” out in May.

    One barrier to this trend (NOT the biggest, but a factor) is that women are finding themselves ambivalent about how much to “let men do” at home. Women are now having to figure out how to adjust to men in the domestic sphere in the same way men had to begin making that adjustment to change in the work world in the 1970s. Gloria Steinem has argued that “women will never be completely equal in the workplace until men are completely equal at home.” She’s right.

  • kyerionp

    I think the greatest point is that society is dominated, and tends to value occupations dominated by white men. I think that aspect should not be missed because there is lots of overlap between what women experience and race. Many minorities have a difficult time negotiating salary as well for the same reasons mentioned that women don’t do it. There are lots of overlap, and could you explain this overlap?


  • Keith

    I find it interesting that women talk about equality but when it comes to politics, it seems women will not support female candidates. I have heard more women be much more critical of female politicians than their male counterparts.

  • Stephen

    From a man’s prespective I feel there is a double standard at play. Women want equal pay but want a man to buy them dinner, movie tickets, expensive engagement rings all of which cost money. As long as women want these things men are going to need more money to buy them.

  • Kathryn


    What does it mean to embrace my essence? And If I did, how would it lead me to money without even working for it?

    Are you suggesting that a man would support me to stay at home and do nothing? I’m completely confused, especially because I’m using a computer despite the fact that I’m responding to a comment made in 1960.

  • Amanda

    I feel that many women, me included, are aware that we contribute and perpetuate this pay ceiling.

    As my partner and I both come out of medical school, we have agreed that I will peruse a lower paying specialty that allows for more flexibility. We feel that we are being realistic as I am a better caregiver. But we also understand the reality unequal pay in the medical field.

    My parents, both health care professionals, faced this same situation 30 years ago. It is important to note that my mother felt she had fewer options than I do today.

    Thank you for this discussion.

  • Jon

    One of the hidden costs I’m concerned about is the shift in how retirement savings work these days. My father enjoyed a pension that included a “mini” pension for my mother.

    Now that most people look to 401k’s for their retirement savings, the decision for the wife (or husband) to stay at home to raise children means the loss of retirement savings during one of the most important periods to save (early to mid career point).

    The cost of this decision won’t be realized until it is far too late.

  • Christa

    A lot of stay-home mothers made that choice simply because they wouldn’t bring home much after paying for full time childcare.

    Unless they had a very high-paying job to go back to, (or they had family nearby to provide free childcare), many women realize that it is more financially feasible to stay home until the kids are school age. In the Boston area it would cost about $2000 a month for full time daycare for two kids!

  • http://episcopalcitymission Ruy Costa

    So, what happend to the suggestion that everybody’s work hours be limited so that more people may work and perhaps reach more equality… perhaps the host has never heard of such labor equity discussions before… shame. Ignoring her comment, and reducing your response to silence was a rude dismissal.

  • John

    What are the statistics in other countries?

  • Lynn Pisaniello

    I am a phyician and used to call myself a feminist. Then after getting help and support from all kinds of men to pursue my interests in research and family medicine I married a wonderful man and strted our family. I told him that I would quit medicine and raise them, but he vehemently insited that we both work half time (and gradually increase that as our children grew)because he wanted to be an integral part of the family and their lives. I was shocked by the way other women did not support my decision to be home with my children(he never seemed to get flack from other men). And I noticed that Faminismn had become man-bashing. WE need to increase the opportunities for women without implying that men are the root cause of all evil in the world.


    My gosh, Caitlyn, shut your yap! Most women do not having a problem separating from our children when we go to work to HELP our families survive. Stop perpetuating the myth that woman aren’t dependable workers, you just make it easier for companies to discriminate against woman for percieved differences.

  • Fairness

    When we have choices, we have to make comprises.

    The person who chooses to not have children in order to further their career gives up all the benefits of having a family. Why shouldn’t they benefit from the additional time and work that they put into their career.

    In families where the man stays home to raise the children, he gets to hear the child’s first words, see their first steps, etc. He will then see his career suffer as result of the choice he (and typically his wife) made.

    How is this not fair?

  • Todd

    “Todd, Get your head out of your butt.

    Wait until you find out some woman is making more than you for the same job,experience, or schooling. Oh wait, that probably won’t ever happen!

    The only reason woman have made the strides they have is because of feminism, not in spite of it.”
    Posted by CHRIS M

    @ CHRIS M, get your head out of your ASSumptions. I honestly DO NOT CARE if a woman is making more (or less) than me. I don’t go green with envy over the material gains of others, regardless of their gender. As long as I’m able to provide for myself from day to day, then I have no complaint. Ideally, I believe everyone should be paid equally for equal work; but, in practical application, life is not that way!

    And actually, FYI, it IS happening to me right now. I have experience and schooling, but am currently unemployed—in a profession that I’m sure presently employs a multitude of women. So, I’m not merely making less, I’m making NOTHING. But, you won’t find me holding a “masculinist” placard, publicly protesting, and initiating my own cause to attain victim status for myself because of it.

    Life isn’t always—or even usually—fair. Some inequalities you can change, and that’s a good thing. But, HOW you go about changing inequalities matters as much as the change you are seeking. Feminism is a divisive ploy that uses otherwise legitimate issues to manipulates the female gender in order to subvert the family unit. The end doesn’t justify the means.

  • Steve

    I wonder what would happen if a man were to take 4 or 5 years off to be a stay at home dad when he attempts to re-enter the job market.

    I suspect that they would be much worse off than women who do the same.

  • Emily Woodward

    Caitlin Flanagan, dial back the JUDGMENT of other moms! It appears that YOU WORK TOO, after all here you are on the air at 8:45am Pacific Time….does that mean YOU are “not there for your children”? Your hypocrisy is staggering, how dare you lay on that guilt trip when YOU YOURSELF are a working mother!

  • Wait one minute…

    I I wonder whether women are reluctant to ask for money from a male boss and that fear cannot be divorced from the dynamic of the social world.

    No matter what, women are going to have to demand a higher wage- especially in the low-paid “female” industries. History is not going to resolve itself. Creating a cadre of female entrepeneurs will not solve the problem because that wil likely increase competition with one another if they open similar businesses.

    The childcare issues could be resolved by bargaining for higher pay and flexible hours. I think most women WANT to work, I think Caitlin sentimentalizes motherhood. She needs to remember that a lot of stay at home moms were not happy. There use to be neighborhoods of caring adults and kids had a lot more freedom, and I would argue are better for it.

  • Nina Pratt

    Curious how Ms.Flanigan’s voice is soft and submissive, while the other two speak with strong, clear voices. I’ve never heard any woman who was in charge of her own life use that soft, feminine voice.

  • Genevieve

    I was logging on to beg someone to stop Caitlin Flanagan and her self-righteous, moralizing, sexist tone, but the first commenter said it all for me. She starts out sounding rational and supportive, and then she slams working mothers over the head with the comments about how it will be “on them forever” when they miss “those moments in their children’s lives.” Gaah! There are many, many moments for parents to spend with their children; don’t berate women who want to and have to work outside the home to support their families!

  • Kerry

    Please take that woman off this show…she needs to get a life. Every moment I have with my children is important and I am NOT a BAD mother because I go to work. If my children had the personalities to stay home with me, I would have. They do not and she HAS to recognize that every person is different, including the children. Instead we pay incredible folks to give them so much more than I could ever do: different perspectives, multiple personalities, etc, etc,

    And the first step is the first step with the mother or with the father….nothing else matters.

  • Kristina

    It’s our responsibility as women to review our personal situations for discrimination in worker pay. As a female engineer I have been lucky to not have expereienced sexism to my knowledge, certainly ageism has been more of a challange so far in my career. I have asked about the opay comparision of male to female employees at my company and am satisfied for now that the management prioritizes equal pay for equal work.

    At my company, there are some men who are the primary parent when the children get out of school or come home sick. They work out the schedule with their supervisors so that their wives can maintain thier career. Some of my female coworkers have husbands who are planning to be the stay at home dad so that the women can maintain their engineering career.

    One more concept I don’t hear much about, as a female engineeer I am not as career driven as some of my collegues and I don’t have the typcial characteristics or priorities to quickly suceed in the workplace. Some of my time at work is spent being supportive of my coworkers and solving problems for other people. I don’t expect this effort is rewarded financially or in promotions. There are probably a variety of characteristics that women have which may limit or slow their reward in the workplace.

    It’s difficult to review the overall situation and make a generalization becuase of the variences being discussed on the show. We need to take personal responsibility in our community and employment to ensure a culture that provides equal pay for both sexes. And we should encourage women to pursue their interests because we have proven to suceed at anything we choose.

  • Catherine

    I am one of the many women attempting to return to the workplace after taking my gap decade to raise a family. Prior to leaving the workplace, I was on a career path but due to the typical reasons and by necessity, shifted my priorities to family and home. During the years that I did work (1980s & 1990s), I was fortunate enough to have worked for firms that reviewed their status, pay and benefit policies, specifically regarding women and minorities while I was there, with the result being a change in policies to equate the pay and benefits commensurate with experience and education/satisfaction of the job requirements regardless of who was performing the job. The bottom line is that a large part of the inequities can be attributed to 1) field and pervading attitudes which can be completely different in urban areas than in more rural areas, and 2) a woman’s approach to an employer and the job.

    Now that I am re-entering the workplace, the opportunities are not as abundant; however, the pay scales for the jobs I am pursuing are equivalent to what they were when I left. Worst case, I will pick up where I left off which may not be considered ideal, it is a reasonable expectation considering the choice I made ten years ago.

  • Kerin

    To address what Caitlin Flanagan just said about women who work, typically those who choose to work: in her saying that women are missing pivotal steps in their child’s lives, such as her/his first steps, she is simply perpetuating the idea of “mother’s guilt” that has been pushed on women since we have entered the work first. This, in my opinion is not a feminist take on the issue at all. Flanagan mind as well tell women to stay out of the workplace if they want to be good mothers. It is people, in particular women, like Flanagan that make the choice between work and home an issue for mothers and potential mothers in the first place. I think providing food, a good education, and a rich life by acting as female model who is knowledgeable on ALL aspects on womanhood–this includes work–is more beneficial for a child in the long run. A baby’s first steps are just an argument made by sexist people to keep women in the home.



    BOO-HOO, cry me a river. Don’t like it when the tables are turned, do you. You obviously DO CARE and DON”T LIKE IT. Get a grip on reality: Men have MORE opportunities in work choices then women do and do better in regards to pay and benefits.But women are paid less because society doesn’t value thier work, not matter what it is, as much because of their GENDER, not their abilities.

  • Alison

    I think Jane should have been clearer about her own choices, because they were clearly affecting the way she guided the conversation. I might have been more comfortable with her clear discomfort of educated mothers choosing to stay home (as I have done) if I knew, for instance, that she was a single mom, a widow, had taken in a family member’s child(ren) or whatever. Otherwise, though, and interesting conversation. I don’t usually listen to the 11 o’clock hour of On Point, and this pulled me in.

  • Wait one minute…


    “Some of my time at work is spent being supportive of my coworkers and solving problems for other people. I don’t expect this effort is rewarded financially”

    Maybe you should expect those characteristics to be rewarded fianacially.

    Jane Clayson,

    Next time, get a labor movement perspective. But good discussion nonetheless.

  • http://www.wbur.org Jenna

    Here’s my thought. We can go to work, have a family and a great relationship – if, as we step back from some things that have typically been seen as “women’s work” and make the men step up and take their share of responsibility around the house, with the children and in the relationship. I know some men do, but they seem to be few in far between. It seems a lot of men (especially generations before mine, which are alot)see their role as earning the cash and women do everything else. If they take their rightful part in these things, everyone should be able to have a balance between what they want in their life and their resposibilities.

  • Paula Malady

    I have been in the business world since I was 15; and a single parent at 18 in 1970. My experience is broad. This breadth of experience is held against me rather than valued. I went to Grad School for an MBA at 40 and found that bringing the women’s skills and tools I knew to be my strength didn’t carry the authority the men saw as leadership material. I have done okay but spend my life being a second class worker doing first class work. I like my male boss now but it has taken him six years to let me be autonomous; it took one for him to do this with a male who worked for me.

  • Christa

    As we get more women holding top positions in politics and the corporate world, there will be more choices for both women AND MEN when it comes to the career vs. family dilemma. Women tend to value the family issues of caring for children and the elderly more than men do, and will implement more family friendly policies for ALL workers, male or female. There won’t be a stigma about being the stay-home parent, there will be more support (on-site day cares, flex hours, etc.)

    Men will benefit from womens’ equality in the workplace – Right now a lot of men who want to take time off to care for family are penalized somehow. For example, it is the law that a man can take paternity leave, but in many companies he is seen as “Not serious about his career” if he does.

  • Wait one minute…


    You are not asking for the same size piece of pie from a disinterested party with plenty of pie to go around.

    You are aking for more of THEIR pie, and that is inherently confrontational.

  • John

    Alison, Jane’s career choices – http://www.amiutah.org/letsgohome/clayson.html

  • Christa

    Educated women who had high-paying careers and then chose to stay home have often had hard choices as well. A lot of them wanted to go back to work but their company demanded that they return to a 60 hour work week – it was all or nothing. Once a woman becomes a mother, her choices are usually hard whether she is financially well-off or HAS to work to survive.

    What women need is not a simple black and white choice of “return to work or stay home,” we need options to work flexible hours, four days a week, or for the husband and wife to each work 30 hours a week and share the childcare. I know very few working parents who have flexible working arrangements. A lot of us would like to go back to work at least part-time, and we are not on the Caitlin Flanagan high horse about how staying home is the BEST option.

  • Rick Evans

    So much misinformation in so little time. Whether you choose a mean or median as your ‘average’ income, comparing two population averages that encompass a huge range of heterogeneous jobs is meaningless

    Lilly Ledbetter’s case was clear cut sexism where she was doing an female apple to male apple job and being way underpaid for it. The talk about underpaid nurses and teachers as evidence as sexist bias is just apple pie and motherhood nonsense. Teacher salaries are generally determined by contract with seniority trumping uber alles.

    As mentioned earlier lots of nurses make $70 to $80K. In places like Boston and New York $100K hospital salaries are not uncommon. Are male floor nurses paid less per hour than female floor nurses?

  • Wait one minute…

    And to all those who think children are harmed by women being in the workplace and bringing home the bacon…

    if you really care about children, as you claim, you will be comforted by the effect of women being paid more, which will undoubtedly lead to better health and welfare of their children. Women are less likely to drink their paychecks– that austerity is built from being paid LESS for MORE work, something a lot of men do not know anything about.

  • http://www.dougshivers.com Doug Shivers

    Like Ruy Costa, I was offended by the host’s laughing dismissal of the caller’s suggestion that all jobs be limited to 25 hours a week, giving everyone a job and allowing more time for families and other interests. I saw this when I was in Nicaragua, several workers in a job that could have been done by one person, but all of those people had employment. It would be interesting to have a discussion on a holistic approach to work in which the main concern was not how much money we make, but how we can all contribute to improve the lives of others.

  • Ginger

    I don’t know much about Caitlin Flanagan, but I think her comments have merit. If we as women spend 8 to 9 hours at work everyday, we will miss getting to know our kids as well as we could, and perhaps as well as they need us to know them. This reality does not say anything about whether we need to work, for financial or career reasons, it’s a simple fact. As a former latch-key kid growing up, and a former day care worker, I know for myself and from watching kids, that the hours in the late afternoon, when older kids are getting off from school, are important hours for children. At the daycare, I watched the kids start looking for their parents, starting around 4.

    These afternoon hours are the time when kids need a trusted adult for a variety of personal reasons, ranging from getting going with homework to talking about the social scene (even bullying) at school. Rather than wasting our time ranting at people like Caitlin, and worrying about whether she is pampered or has a breathy, submissive voice, let’s work instead at changing a system that forces us to work a long day, and leave our children in other people’s care, in order to have the option to work at our jobs and/or careers.

    Until we as citizens, whether women or men, are willing to face hard facts about our situations as caregivers, we won’t be able to change society to suit the needs of our children, as well as ourselves.

  • Wait one minute…

    Yeah Rick Evans,

    And listen how teacher’s unions are treated. They are basically told they are greedy and incompetant and hurting children particularly poor inncer city kids.

    Do you hear the same contempt for Wall Streeter’s cry babying about their obscene salaries being capped? NO, that’s SOCIALISM.

  • Todd


    What does it mean to embrace my essence? And If I did, how would it lead me to money without even working for it?

    Are you suggesting that a man would support me to stay at home and do nothing? I’m completely confused, especially because I’m using a computer despite the fact that I’m responding to a comment made in 1960.”
    Posted by Kathryn

    @ Kathryn:
    True love doesn’t count the cost, it only asks for love in return. Same today as it was in the 60s, or any other time in human history.

  • L

    In reference to Andrea’s comments, I am in firm agreement with several of the points that she has made, but I also take issue with her concluding remarks, which I find disparaging towards my profession. Moreover, I almost consider Andrea’s concluding remarks as “anti-feminist”(provided feminism is defined by a belief in achieving equality between the genders, and that ideally, the quest to attain a gender-equitable society is augmented by supporting one’s sisters (and brothers) in this mission.)
    Andrea made the following comments:
    Whoah! When I hear a woman say “we want reception jobs, hostess jobs”, my skin crawls! My mother did not burn her bra in the 60’s to hear a woman say that. This is where the real issue is…what does it mean to be a woman, and what is she being taught about her abilities…and why doesn’t she reach out for something other than the bottom cluster. (Your guest is missing this point entirely.) I am programmer and I disagree wholeheartely with the idea that women “want” to work in those crappy jobs. Can you please get some women in the top fields–NOT former school teachers– in on this conversation. Uh!

    I agree with the fact that we need to continue to carefully examine the nature vs. nurture issue; it continues to play an enormous role in the very warp and woof of our culture. Figuratively speaking, the “fabric” of gender relations in Western society is one that has evolved over millenia, and it is rife with the “threads” of patriarchy that feminists and those who believe in equality are still trying to examine thoughtfully and ultimately replace or restore with stronger, more gender equitable materials (if you will pardon the extended metaphor.) Unfortunately, the quest to revisit, restore, and even replace the more “prominent” patriarchal threads within this ancient tapestry is still a work in progress. (And I certainly hope that feminists around the world will continue to take this task seriously, on behalf of every citizen on this planet!) With that said, I’d like to comment further on Andrea’s reference to “women in top fields.” Are top fields only defined by salaries? Moreover, is teaching and being a former teacher (and then becoming a stay-at-home mom) equated with inferiority, if not a failure to embrace the higher ideals of feminism?
    I am 37 years old, and I suspect that my mother (who, thankfully, continues to be a political activist) is in the same age range as Andrea’s. I am also a feminist who happens to be a public high school English teacher with a master’s degree in English Literature. I have always defined myself as a feminist who happens to be “card-carrying” if you will, and I have proudly worn the badge of my feminist beliefs throughout my life, weathering the storm of the backlash against feminism that emerged in the late 80s and early 90s, not to mention the ways that the concept of feminism continues to be misconstrued, and often receives a barrage of misogynistic salvos to this day. I should add that I graduated from one of the Seven Sisters, and like Andrea, (and a number of other commentators), I do not identify with many aspects of Mrs. Flanagan’s belief system, especially her supercilious generalization that the majority of women make less money because they want lower-paying jobs in which they do not get their hands dirty (and what have you.) Certainly, the wearing of “kid-gloves” or needing special treatment due to my femininity have never been part of my life, and yet, I also think that if some women prefer one or both, then they should not be dismissed. I also think that any man or woman who chooses a profession in which he or she fails to get his or her hands dirty (that also happens to pay less than many other jobs) deserves to be paid well. With that said, my career has been one that has been heavily (and continues to be) invested in scholarly pursuits and academia. I went to college on a full scholarship, and I am very grateful for the excellent education that I have received throughout my life–from Head Start to the 3 excellent schools of “higher learning” that I have had the privilege to attend. While I could have easily pursued law or gotten a doctorate in English, I made the choice to teach public high school because I love working with young people, I love literature, and I have always felt that I can make the greatest impact on our society in a public high school setting. My goal has always been to affect my students, (our nation’s burgeoning young men and women who will one day vote, in many instances become parents, and ultimately shape our country’s future) in meaningful ways. So, once again, what defines a woman in a”top” field? Is my career one that deserves to be regarded as “lowly” or inferior in the vast scheme of things? What about supporting any field a woman chooses to pursue, (and supporting equal wages, at that!)? What about the prospect of considering “motherhood” (and fatherhood) as a “top field” of a sort? As much as I cannot bear the majority of Mrs. Flanagan’s statements regarding feminism, motherhood, and womanhood, I actually think (as much as I might be biased as a teacher) that parenting and teaching (at least good parenting and good teaching) may be two of the hardest “professions” in the world–for both genders! And, yes, of course, parenting is unpaid, and teaching remains underpaid. I am not a mother, (nor do I plan on becoming one), but again, what defines a “top field” in a more abstract sense? In an economic context, the answer is obvious, I just find the connotation that teaching is a profession that deserves less credit than a “high-paying” or “top” job–(not to mention the concept that teaching and then choosing to leave one’s job to raise children) to be a bit derogatory, if not ultimately anti-feminist in its import. With all of that said, I will now return to correcting essays for the rest of my April “vacation.”

  • http://www.toynerd.com David

    I find it puzzling that your guests said a number of things that had they been said by a man would have been flagged as blatantly sexist.

    We are either against sexism or not, I don’t believe it is reasonable that the group who feels they are subject to unfair treatment can now act unfairly themselves. Double standards help no one.

    For example one of your guests made a point something along the lines of women being such great teachers and nurses and should not be penalized because of that. If I had said that men were such good [fill in the blank] and [fill in the blank] I would get railed for being sexist. I would have, rightly so, been on the end of a response along the lines of, “A woman can be a [fill in the blank] just as much as a man”.

    Additionally, being a career educator myself I can assure you that men are just as good at being teachers as women are.

    Fewer anecdotes and more data please. A panel made up of guests of the caliber of the one from Harvard Business school (sorry for forgetting her name) representing both sides of this issue would have made for a much richer, and in my mind relevant, discussion.


  • River

    As a woman in a same sex marriage, with three kids (including twins), I always find these discussions interesting. I find it interesting when people’s husbands get all kinds of applause for doing their share of cooking dinner, changing diapesr and work around the house where it is just assumed that the woman will do it. I am the primary wage earner in the family, and my wife stays home, and I find it interesting the assumptions people make about me when I am working a full time job (that I do not care about my kids, that I should be home, that I do not do enough) and the assumptions people make about her because she is not (that she is unmotivated, that she was not good at her job) Somebody has to work. When our second pregnancy turned out to be twins, it became impossible for my wife to make enough money to break even, when you factored in the cost of child care for three kids under the age of three.

    I work a union job and because we have a published pay scale, I know exactly what my coworkers make. But when I did not, when things were all private negotiations and figured out under the table, the disparity of pay for people with the same experience, the same qualifications was appalling.

  • L

    I truly appreciate your posting. Thanks so much for sharing so many excellent and valid points! I am also a supporter of unions, and I was just thinking, now there’s a system that appropriately makes sure that both genders receive equal pay for equal work. I realize that there are many, many arguments against unions (especially these days), but again, I am grateful for what you shared!

  • L

    Like you, I really appreciated Dr. Koehn’s comments, not to mention the data she provided.
    Yours in spirit (as well as in profession!),

  • steve

    I’m curious where this $0.77 figure comes from. Is it the mean salary of all women in the workforce compared to all men in the work force? Is it a comparison of similar experience in similar jobs? What is it.

    I know this is anecdotal, but here goes. I hold a Ph. D. degree from an Ivy League school, and held the rank of full professor at a University. My wife is a nurse with a master’s degree. Guess who had the higher income the last year that we worked full time? Hint: It wasn’t me.

    Now, my wife works part time when we need income because she can make more money than I can for the same amount of work. Next year, I will be able to take out Social Security before full retirement age, work some and not have to give money back. My wife won’t be able to do that because she will earn too much money.

  • Kate Parker

    Woah – hey isn’t calling out Caitlin’s voice as breathy and submissive a really sexist thing to do??? Saying she’s not powerful because her voice is quiet sounds Good Old Boy to me.

    And – why does Kerry want her kids to have “multiple personalities???” Kerry, sweetheart, if your kids are being diagnosed with multiple personalities, that’s so not a good thing!!!!

  • Kathryn

    Did anyone read about Caitin’s bio? She spent most of her time on the show speaking in a pitying tone about how women just can’t get over their need to be with their children and what a loss it is for women who work. The woman has a nanny, a housekeeper, a gardener and a personal organinzing assistant. What does she know about raising her children and running a home?

    And Todd, I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do in order to have money without working. Nor how that relates to my essence, whatever that is.

  • Rick Evans

    To: “Wait one minute” What do high paid Wall Street traders and investment bankers have to do with unfair disparities between men and women? Nothing. The last I saw female Wall streeters are just as greedy as the guys. Now if female traders are unfairly paid compared to the guys we have something to agree about

  • Teresa

    Kathryn – you are a valuable person, even if Todd doens’t think you are!!! It doesn’t MATTER AT ALL that you don’t have a boy friend or husband. You have your own self worth, no matter what. That is what I have learned, the hard way. But don’t give up! You could still make a match with a guy, even of life has been hard for you. You have a job and computer skills, and there are plenty of guys who will be attracted to you for that. I have learned that it’s not about being pretty or the conventional type of girl. I even know a woman from my work who has disabilities and she has a boyfriend now. But –most of all — you don’t need a man. Your “essence” is okay – don’t let todd make you feel badly. Good luck!!! Ter

  • MomCat

    Dear L –

    Between writing your blogs and grading all those papers, you’re a hardworking lady! Good for you! You are smart not to have kids – your time must go to your blogs and grading. You are like Hillary Clinton maybe — hard worker all the time. Where can I find more of your blogs? I have a lot of free time. I was not able to finish all of this one but i’m going to go back and read more of it later, have to go to the vet right now, but I can finish it after.


    During my work history, I have worked full-time, part-time, job-shared,and stayed home depending upon my families circumstances. My kids are polite & well-mannered and do well in school. It is not how much time you spend with your kids, but how well you spend it with them. We have dinner together as a family every night and talk about our days. We tell each other we love each other daily and spend out time together doing things as a family. My kids (15/12) do not have cell-phones or facebook/my space pages and they tell me they don’t want them, they are a distraction and people they know abuse them. I know many mothers who work or don’t work, and they don’t spend any more time with their kids as the other, but they don’t interact with their kid other than carting them around to unending play dates or activities. That is not parenting, that is chauffering.

  • Jen in Boston

    A few points: It would have been interesting to talk to men in industry as well as women to ask them why this is. As a former higher education administrator I also think that more colleges and universities should have required Career Development programs for female students to address the issues that negatively impact womens pay and promotions in the workforce by staff and past Alumnus one, two, three, four, five and ten years out and working in the trenches. This could be done in conjunction with Alumni Development as women tend to give more money in smaller amount to their colleges and universities and a good program could increase donations.

    Business culture needs to be learned. Women tend to excel in school leaving most men in the dust, once they enter the business world these same men are quickly initiated into the old boys network of business culture and move up much faster while many women are left floundering. Women need to be taught these rules and have a support network of successful,experienced women and men to guide them so they can avoid the many pitfalls a woman can fall into the first few years in the field which can negatively affects her pay.

    Regarding the caller who mentioned working 20 hours a week so more jobs would be available and people would have time to care for their children and aging family members I think she had a good point and I would have liked to have this explored more thoroughly instead of being dismissed by the moderators. Many of us in salaried positions are hired for full time positions which labor law defines as 40 hours a week, yet the unspoken understanding between employer and employee is that in order to compensate for your larger salary as salaried person you will work until the job is done, many employers have taken full advantage of this “uncompensated overtime loophole” to squeeze every last bit of work from their employees requiring them to work well in excess of 60 hours a week every week. No longer the exception the 60 plus hour week is now the norm for salaried employees. While working at one companyit came to my attention that a great many employees were putting in the hours equivalent to two full time jobs!This is not healthy or does not provide any life balance and perhaps explains our increased health care costs. If labor law enforced the 40 hour work week for salaried work, employers would be forced to hire more employees, men and women would have the time and energy to be fully active in their community and to take care of their families.

    The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act should be strengthen to require employers to ensure that they provide equal pay for equal work currently the act simply gives employees the right to sue their employers for unequal compensation based on gender discrimination and extends the statute of limitations to file such a case. The employee is required to do all the work and find out about this inequality in pay, ironically for most companies disclosing your rate of pay to another employee is considered a breach of contract that can lead to being fired.

  • Jen in Boston

    Perhaps if the school hours were extended to reflect the ideal quit time for businesses parents and children could be home together. Many older kids have after school activities.

  • Jen in Boston

    Several men mention the penalty that men pay if they take paternity leave. Have their been any studies other than just ante dotes?

  • Wait one minute…

    Rick Evans,

    My point is that female dominated occupations, such as teaching, are subject to hostility for fighting for wages. The right wing in this country is on the march to blame teachers for not closing the achievement gap.

    The line goes something like this…

    permissive liberal teachers (white females) are not disciplining children so that they can compete in the 21st century workplace. Instead, they are selfishly concerned with job security and high salaries, and use the union to protect them from accountability.

    Rick, you know the saying that the first to point the finger absolves himself of the blame? the reason why there is such craziness in our schoools is the lack of stability in the homes and in the neighborhoods because Wall Street gorged itself on profiting off “The American Dream” Folks are losing their homes, their marriages, their jobs and the right is looking for a scapegoat : teachers. It emcompasses all their favorite boogeymen: women, unions, liberals, the public sector, secularism. They finally learned that family values was a losing battle, so now they are creating a fight between the family versus the schools.

    . Rick, I am sure there are greedy women om Wall Street, but the fact is, when women make more money children are the benficiaries. The real problem is that the wealth in this country went into the pockets of Wall Street and out of Main Street, that was bad for families and teachers.

  • Naiomi Malay

    I feel that Caitlyn’s comments regarding working mothers missing out on their children’s milestones are incredibly offensive. I am a working mother, but while I am away from her for work during the week, I am with my child every morning, every night, every weekend, every holiday, every vacation day, every sickday, every time she randomly wakes up in the middle of the night, and EVERY time she needs me. She still has the incredibly strong bond with me, and I am still the only one that can calm her at times, not her daycare provider. Stay at home moms spend time away from their children as well, to clean, to run errands, whatever it may be. This concept where women knock down other women for not staying at home with their children only adds to the inequity of pay between genders because it attempts to shame working mothers into staying home, when it is not always necessary. Yes, I have a busy life and have to make sacrifices, but I will never let the sacrifice be my child. I will let the house chores go sometimes, I will sacrifice an hour or two of sleep, but I will never let her go without, and people who call working moms “part-time” moms need to stop being so judgemental.

  • Pro-lifer

    Equality for women must equate to equality for the unborn as well. What’s so equal about an abortion? The mother gets to carry on with her life, but the life of an unborn child is silenced forever. The laws must be changed to protect the lives of the unborn.

  • Susan

    Great topic but I agree w/a previous comment about Caitlin Flanagan – her pampered lifestyle are NOT reflective of most women’s lives.

    For a number of years, I worked in a male dominated field making much less than my co-workers doing exactly the same job. I was a single mom at the time. I was also passed over for a promotion to a newer male co-worker because my “looks would interfere when working with our clients” (who were also mostly male). Granted this was about 7 yrs ago in a smallish Southern city but it was discrimination pure and simple.

    Today I run my own business so that I can control my income and career outcomes. Young women need to be vigilant to maintain what equality we’ve earned and fight until we are truly considered equals in the working world.

  • L

    Dear MomCat:
    Actually, I rarely (if ever) blog anything at all in response to programs like On Point (etc.) but I couldn’t help but add something to the conversation (and I also enjoy writing.) As for having an actual blog of my own: 1.) Not to be disparaging towards anyone who does have a blog, but in my mind, unless there is a higher purpose of some sort, (i.e. to further one’s humanitarian goals in some way) a vast majority of blogs are narcissistic and I would want to avoid “reflecting” this type of quality (even if by accident.) Not to equate the two, exactly, but I find the concept of Twitter to be yet another branch of the dangers of our increasingly narcissistic world of “online” or “wired” communications. Call me a Luddite, but I will never participate in the “tweeting” movement, and Facebook is something I continue to passionately resist, although I recognize that it has its advantages. 2.)I simply don’t have the time to create a blog and 3.) If I had a blog, it would probably be devoted to political activism and/or creative writing, but even then, I don’t know how I’d find the time that would be required to update it, (if not reflect the type of excellence that I would aspire towards in any official communication that I shared with a public audience.) Needless to say, I will need to stop “blogging” now; (what a rare occurrence!) and thank you for your comments. As an aside, I do hope your comments weren’t, in fact, facetious (?) Often, it is difficult to interpret the tone of certain online communications, (especially in terms of e-mail), and I’d hate to think I have been naive in my interpretation and ultimately have “egg on my face” for responding in this fashion. I’d also hate to think that your comments were actually mean-spirited, but I hate to say it, but the world that we live in these days seems to have more darkness than light, and this is something I am always trying to combat, (as much as is humanly possible), despite how small I really am in the vast scheme of it all. As for your visit to the vet, I hope your cat (?) or another pet (?) is faring well. And I will include one last aside, yes, I am an English teacher who happens to be a bit of a workaholic, but I am also an avid animal lover, and my husband and I have been blessed with the “company” of a very noble and intelligent cat who just turned 12 on the 20th. So vet’s visits (as opposed to doctor’s visits with children) are something I definitely identify with! And, as for having children, I often feel as though my students are my surrogate children in an abstract sort of way (if that makes any sense.)

  • Judy R

    Kids do NOT need their mothers at home to turn out well! I have always worked upwards of 60+ hours, and my three kids are just fine. Actually, I never really wanted to have kids – got pregnant by mistake the first time, had the second child (a boy, and I had wanted a girl) because my husband wanted another, and had the third because I thought I was running out of time for kids. Women get really off track thinking that their kids are #1 in their lives, etc. I agree with the posters above – motherhood does not equal a life sentence. When the younger two were still in junior high I had a great work opportunity, and I took it – had to work 80 hours a week, but with an exciting team. I sent the younger one to live at a friend’s house, and the middle one was pretty much on her own at home. Some problems with that (some drug use, and a pregnancy that she didn’t tell me about), but she was fine. And I was so much happier. Happy mom = happy kids. End of story.

  • TC

    Am I only the one to feel incredibly sorry for Naomi Malay’s chilld? If she is the only one who can calm her down – she says the day care worker can’t – what does the poor little child do when she is upset and Naomi is at work? This situation with Naomi’s child should be investigated. I would recommend that the day care worker look at Ms. Malay’s emergency contact numbers to find out if there is anyone else in the family who cares about the child and who could make an intervention on her behalf. Sometimes moms like Ms. Malay get so stuck in their guilt that they don’t realize what they are doing to their children. On the other hand, by now the child is probably deeply attached to the worker, probably in some ways more attached to her than to her mother — I’ll bet there are plenty of times when the girl is really upset at home and Ms. Malay doesn’t know what’s wrong or what to do — and if that worker walked in the room, the little girl would calm down right away. The really painful thing for children like Naomi’s is often the weekend – they are bonded so deeply to the day care worker, and when they are stuck at home with a mom they don’t really know well, they feel so lost and abandoned.

  • http://www.vizcab.com Michael Rowley

    Women employers pay women employers even less. On a different note, males are less valuable to society as we’re constantly shipping them off to war or sending them into burning burning buildings… to save women and children first. So some compensation is due. Mostly, women don’t ask for as much during hiring and reviews. A man is more likely to ask for a better wage. I’d rather not work in a industry with a lot of women in as they are driving down the wages for everyone.

  • JP

    This discussion was pretty pathetic and frankly, heartbreaking. I’m sure any misogynistic man listening in breathed a long sigh of relief! What has happened to the feminist movement in this country?!?

    I am a woman (US citizen) working in the male-dominated finance industry in London. Don’t talk to me about boy’s clubs: I’ve been to business meetings with male colleagues at all-male clubs where I’ve literally had to be snuck in the service entrance because women were formally not allowed in. Then I closed the deal anyway.

    The things that annoyed me most about this show were twofold: one, the almost complete absence of any policy discussion (for example, here in the UK, women have 6 month maternity leave, with their position guaranteed for their return; men receive a small paternity leave as well. If the US had this policy, it would surely cut down on the number of women who feel they “have to” leave the work force. Oh, and did I mention that childcare is cheaper here?) These structural issues make a BIG difference, both practically and psychologically.

    And two, the completely US-centric worldview displayed by all of the guests, Catilin Flanagan in particular, was infuriating. The whole idea of a woman being the more “nurturing” person who finds raising children more “satisfying” than her husband would is totally culturally constructed. I have never met a Scandinavian woman who felt that way, and their kids turn out just fine. None of the commentators seemed aware of how much they are sacrificing in service to the completely arbitrary social norm of being “a good mother” which exists mainly in the U.S. Life could be so different, if you would just reexamine your faulty assumptions!

    Oh God, and finally, the comment by Ms. Flanagan at the tail end of the show– a caller makes a smart and passionate monologue about how women’s rights will never be safe as long as the majority of CEOs and politicians are men, and Catilin bursts out, “but maybe they’re better at it.. maybe the men are better at it…” completely disgusted me to the core. What is the female version of an “Uncle Tom”? Because that is the word I would use to describe Ms. Flanagan and her masochistic retro-rhetoric.

  • Benjamin Dover

    Carly Fiorina, Indra Nooyi, Andrea Jung, Anne Mulcahy and many others. You get what you NEGOTIATE for compensation, NOT what you perceive you deserve. Men are better negotiators when it comes to compensation.

    Factually speaking, that is not our men’s fault) that this occurs IF it does occur. Do you have a scientific peer reviewed study which can be cited for this data? You get what you negotiate and what you are willing to work hard for to achieve. There is no glass ceiling. If men in similar jobs aren’t paid equally to men they compete with — and they’re not — how is it possible to mandate equal pay between genders? It isn’t. Everyone is paid what he or she is worth, and that compensation is determined by job skills, job requirements, personality, geography, industry, company size, AND negotiating skills. When a company offers a woman a salary, and she accepts it — without negotiating a better deal — she is agreeing to the amount. She can’t later complain that some man outearns her. People often cite, and blindly accept, a mysterious “statistic” indicating that women earn 70 cents for every dollar a man earns. Surprisingly, few ask how that figure was derived. It’s meaningless. Moreover, it does not factor in child support and alimony, which women receive in at least 90% of cases. And, let’s not forget the imputed income to women when men pay for their entertainment and travel.

    All told, according to Allianz, the financial-services behemoth, women control 60% of American wealth. Take a man earning $2M per year and another living under a bridge, earning nothing. Lump them together: each has an average annual salary of $1M. Makes sense on a calculator but not in reality. Men and women, in general, have different jobs. In addition, more women than men are in low-paying, part-time jobs. Yes, there are men and women with equal jobs in the executive ranks. But, rarely do you find women welding steel atop bridges or men changing diapers in daycare centers. So, if you take a group of women, ranging from CEO to secretary, and a group of men, ranging from CEO to Navy SEAL, the arithmetic averages of their wages will not be equal. But, because most men feel guilty for being alive, let alone walking upright, they easily succumb to this glass-ceiling wage-gap crap. If you take maternity leave you are not working ergo why should your salary level remain consistent with those who remained and are advancing? You are making a conscious decision of family over career. Live with your choices and the consequences of your decisions. That’s the real world.

  • Clester

    I am so angry about what happened to poster JP – what a blatant example of sexism, beyond belief. She is obviously highly educated and was forced to go to a disgusting “genlteman’s club.” I can only imagine what she was forced to do in that environment to close her deal. I wish she had brought a video camera – she could have blocked out her own face and shown the video to the men’s wives. Shame on them. I hope JP will write a book about that experience. She should be able to use her mind not what the men in the gentleman’s club wanted.

    She is SO right about this being a US-centric show!!! In Britain I bet the women only make seventy seven cents on the dollar, too. I have heard in France the women only make fifty cents to the dollar. Why must people in the US assume everything is the same in other countries? it’s not! Other countries have their own way of doing everything. We should learn more and have more shows about it.

  • Mike

    I guess everything has been said, and elocquently, but I will add this: the women talking about this topic (why all women?) say they are ‘post feminist;’ but sound like the original whiners of the 70′s. Maybe, just maybe, they are retreating to oh-poor-put-upon-me attitude that has dogged truly talented professional women for nearly 40 years, now.

  • Benjamin Dover

    Unless the data trotted out and called “factual” is peer reviewed legitimate studies following scientifically accepted statistical formulas and processes which can be confirmed and checked by 3rd parties for accuracy, it is no more relevant or real than anecdotal experience.

  • N

    Can’t believe women like Susan still have to deal with “lookism.” It shouldn’t matter if she is not attractive!!!!!!! All that should matter is that she can do HER JOB!!!!!!!

    She did not post if the problem involves her weight — but there is a huge emplyment bias against the overweight, especially women.

    An unattractive man would never, never be fired for not looking appealing to others – but women like Susan face it every day.

  • Charlotte

    There is a contradiction in the guests analysis:

    1. women systematically choose certain fields to work, there is no reason for that.
    2. women are different from men, there are delicate, empathetical ..etc…
    well if this is what you want to “preserve” don’t be surprised that they choose teaching or nursing!!!

    the real issue is not intrinsic women qualities (which are social constructs and can change) it is childbirth and the fact that they have to take time off while men keep on working!

  • jeffe

    It’s amazing that after 38 years since the ERA amendment this is still an issue, something not right about that.

  • keepingItReal

    jeffe, sweetpea, the ERA didn’t pass… that might be the problem

  • Charlotte

    STOOOOPPP!!! men can also have these feelings. This guest is taking us back to the victorian age!!!!

  • KidsBoreMe

    Right on, Naomi Malay!!!!!! We don’t need to be around our kids all the time!!!! Kids are boring and we need a break!!!!!!

  • JP

    PS- Clester, you are so kind, but don’t worry; I didn’t have to do anything sleazy in the gentlemen’s club! I didn’t mean a strip club, just a “member’s club” where women are not allowed to be members. Kind of like the golf club where Tiger Woods played the Masters this year.

    Of course, the fact that these clubs are allowed to exist is a sign of continuing sexism, as businessmen meet there regularly to do deals and women, by definition, are generally excluded. I do my best to keep up with the men in my field, but I do hear about deals that have gone on without me from time to time- due to this exclusionary atmosphere.

    It’s harder to compete on the salary side when you have men bonding at gentlemen’s clubs- of course you’d rather hire the guy you had a beer with last night over the lady you barely know.

  • Naiomi

    Sarcasm and attacking others for sharing their opinion is never constructive. It is unfortunate that some feel it is a good argument.

  • John

    I don’t understand what it means to “act like a woman” in a business environment. What is the behavior that is supposedly being undervalued/discriminated against?

  • Don Ladig

    Why not get some female and male physicians, lawyers, economists, and top business people on.

    There is a lot of “junk” in the 77% “statistic.

  • Kelsey

    Too bad I’m hearing this on a re-broadcast, I was so set to call in… I was born in 1980 and have been really saddened in the past 10 years to realize that so much momentum that had built for women’s equal rights throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s had really dissipated by the time I entered the adult world. I don’t mean to belittle the amazing events that took place during those decades, but logic would have predicted that my generation would no longer be plagued by the same old stereotypes as women in the 50s – can you be a good mother and work outside the home (odd how this has never applied to fathers), can you ‘handle’ the conditions, requirements, etc. that men can. I am a cook, a profession that continues to be extremely male dominated, and can outperform or equate the performance of men with my similar experience, but have never made more than 11.50 an hour and have never been promoted to an official supervisory position, though I’ve had many jobs where I was expected to train new staff, assist with hiring decisions and be ‘in charge’ when the boss was away. I find myself being asked to prove my worth so much more often than my male colleagues, and I take offense to the often posed question of ‘does sexism still exist/affect us in a measurable way?’. I do not have children and have put in lots and lots and lots of overtime in my 15 year career.

    • Jdell

      How do you know that you are asked to prove yourself more than male colleagues, you don’t.

      BTW, just to let you know something that feminists would rather you not know.

      “The plural of anecdote is not fact”

  • Charles

    Im A trainer with a Co that moves very dangerous material around the States with Semi Trucks, I train both
    men and women, And if they make it through the training, everyone gets paid the same. I would like to see someone tell a Lady driver, sorry were only going to pay you 77% of what the men make, Dont think that person would see another Day Break.

    Maybe this pay problem only takes place in high dollar jobs, In the real world, everyone gets paid the same.

    We have 135 drivers, 3 of which are women, basically they quit “cause its to dangerous”, wimps.
    Men cant just walk away, we have to work, apparently women dont. Get a life
    The women who do work here, are some of the best we have and are respected as a worker, as they should be.
    What a cry fest that show was. Boo Hoo.

  • http://bruceguindon.com bruce guindon

    I know there are a large portion of the population who will never think that a woman is equal to a man and that was evident in the last Presidential election, although their have been some gains {the vote] and a token here and there women have been put down, let down, pulled down and kept down so that inferior beings can feel good about them selfs. when I was a child Moms were supposed to stay home and be domestic now they are expected to go to work all day and then come home and be domestic. I know the word slavery is often abused but perhaps a glance at the porno world gives a clear picture of what men think of their mothers and daughter and the positions that they want most of all is power over women

    • Jdel

      You are actually carrying on another myth, when housework and outside the home work are added up, they end up damn near even. IOW, the myth of the second shift is just that, a myth. Yes, modern women who approx 5 more hours per week of housework, but modern men still do about 4.5 hours of outside the house work. Also most housework studies rarely if ever count things like home repairs, car repairs and lawn mowing, show shovelling etc as housework.

  • jeffe

    I stand corrected on the ERA, it is not a law yet but it should be. Just three more states.

    From http://www.equalrightsamendment.org :

    The ERA was passed out of Congress in 1972 and has been ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. When three more states vote yes, it is possible that the ERA could become the 28th Amendment. The ERA could also be ratified by restarting the traditional process of passage by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives, followed by ratification by legislatures in three-quarters (38) of the 50 states.

    In these pages, find out about this historic amendment … and join the effort to achieve equal rights for women and men.

  • Tom

    I heard this program on rebroadcast on XM. I find it hard to sympathize with the women on this program (and as an aside, why were no working fathers included on the panel?) because basically they’re arguing that women should not face any consequences for their own life choices. Let me just relate a slice of my day yesterday (the day I heard the show) to illustrate. I got to work 2 hours late because I had to take my daughter to the doctor’s office because she’s not feeling well. Later that day I was in a meeting chaired by a guy who is my own age who is in a very responsible, high pressure job. Before the meeting got started, he related how nice it was that he could see his children during daylight hours because he had been scheduled to be on a business trip to Europe that was cancelled due to volcanic ash. He also got to see his child’s high school musical when he was afraid he’d miss it. Now I have four kids, all of them are in their schools’ bands, and I have never missed one of their performances. I have contemporaries who are a few steps higher than me on the ladder, but that’s because they are there late into the evening or on the weekends, when I’m watching my kids’ soccer games. This was MY choice, and I don’t regret it a bit, but I also don’t begrudge those who rose higher because they accepted the extra stress and responsibility. What the women on this program seemed to want is equal pay for less work, not equal work.

  • Mary Mayer Hennelly

    Ms. Flanagan,

    Your comments were distressing to me on a personal level and also ignore the demographic facts of our country. You expressed sympathy for the single parent households and all the experiences they have missed.
    Any parent who works is depriving the family.

    What you iginore is the fact that many two parent, traditional households, are experiencing challenges that our parents did not face. It is not uncommon for a wife to earn more than her husband. As one of those women who have financially (led) supported our family, listening to you express with utmost confidence, all that I have missed because I “chose” to work, is difficult. You are incorrect in believing you have the answers. You may be surprised as to the involvement of parents of all labels in their children’s schools, activties and church time. Stop mis-judging us.

    I suggest you consider the actual real life facts of other women. You may have a free lance career but many of us cannot. You have hindered not helped.

  • Susan S

    Mary Mayer Hennelly puts is perfectly – Bravo. Single parent families do not deserve our sympathy. Most of them have put themselves in that situation. Mary is married and even still has missed out on so much of her children’s lives because of her husband’s problems – she is the one who deserves our sympathy and she has it.

  • gillianr

    Naomi Malay – if your child’s daycare worker is sub par you have every right to change day cares. If the worker can’t calm down your child when she’s upset, then your child is not in the right place. New mothers often feel unconfident about this, but you shouldn’t feel that way. Keep looking, and have your child stay with a parent or friend until you find a better and more caring place.

  • Naiomi

    let me clarify for anyone who may have been confused by my statement…daycare provider has no problem calming down child…I was stating that she is, of course, not the only person that can calm her down, as I have heard a few try to argue regarding working mothers.

  • JenaieP

    Naomi, I think this was the comment from your post that caused the confusion — ?

    She still has the incredibly strong bond with me, and I am still the only one that can calm her at times, not her daycare provider.

  • Michael Drew

    I appreciate Jen in Boston advancing a clear remedy to this problem, whatever its chances of passing or practical feasibility might be. It was incomprehensible to me that the discussion failed until the very end to turn to a discussion of the upshot. We hear the 70-something-percent number ALL the time, and however much it might contain the results of choices as well as discrimination, only denialists actually think there isn’t real discrimination. So do we have to get stuck in that portion of the conversation EVERY SINGLE TIME we have it? Why don’t we actually move on to a productive conversation about what to do about it? If we don’t, I think the whole thing really does make itself legitimately subject to a charge of being satified with wallowing in victimhood.

    • Jdell

      But Michael, here is the problem, serious scientific discussions put the so called discrimination number at less than 3% and even that is debatable, so in fact, perhaps we should not be even talking about this at all with such a low number

  • salJay

    I do not agree with Mary Mayer Hennelly that “any parent who works is depriving their family.” That does not make sense to me. Ms. Hennelly: have you ever considered the fact that a working parent is contributing to the financial life of the family? That is hardly a deprivation, is it? You are doing a great hindrance to parents who work. The goal of blogs like this should be to help not hinder. Try to remember there are other people who are not the same as you. Being a librarian is important work; we should never use it to spread hurtful information about working parents.

  • Marc Bernstein

    I, for one, am tired of this 77 cent canard that is trotted out every year. I have a master’s degree in human resource management, and must say that feminists have deliberately distorted this statistic by throwing in Bill Gates, and others with incomes in the stratosphere, to skew the data.

    Look at all theses stories over the years, and you’ll always find the trite phrase that, “we’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go…”

    As long as there is a hidden agenda (affirmative action) associated with this issue, I’ll raise my skeptical eyebrow. One cannot equate a seamstress with a surgeon, no matter how pure one believes their cause may be.

  • Naiomi

    Yes, that was obviously the point I was clarifying…so I guess I will clarify again-daycare provider not the ONLY one who can calm her. I am surprised I even have to clarify this point since the concept of a daycare provider having a stronger bond with child is preposterous to me. It is only a few hours during the weekdays.
    when I said I am the only one who can calm her i am referring to when my family and I are out all together at family events, etc, and she fusses if others hold her, and quiets down in my arms…anyone who has a child knows that this happens sometimes, it is just something special between mother and child. I have seen it with working mothers and stay at home mothers alike. no need to twist my words any further than that.

  • discount brains

    Years ago a college professor told us that women on average have better GPA’s than men, but he said that was also true because they took easier courses. Its quite interesting that no mention was made of what these advanced degrees women were getting were in. Let me guess: socialogy, psychology, education, biology, and who knows what else-pottery making or ceramics or dance or whatever. How many women get degrees in the ‘hard’ sciences or engineering? There may be a few getting law degrees, but after seeing the performance of Marsha Clark and Chris Darden I wonder about the competence of some with law degrees. Men are simply held more responsible on the job and when no one is available to go out and unload a truck the manager or even CEO may need to lend a hand.

    Let’s see a woman run a roofing company. Once I applied for a roof inspector job. The interviewer explained some details about the job. First of all you might have to climb a ladder two stories or more and be on a flat roof 12 hours a day in the Sun. Most inspectors were once roofers themselves. Roofers use a lot of colorful language and clearly they are not going to have a lot of respect for someone who hasn’t actually done the job.

  • JoyceR

    Naomi – I still find myself confused about your remark. You say this -

    She still has the incredibly strong bond with me, and I am still the only one that can calm her at times, not her daycare provider.

    Do you mean that if you’re in situations where the day care provider is not present, and your daughter has the choice of you versus someone she does not know well – another family member at an event – then you are the only one who can calm her? So, would she rather have the day care provider than you in those moments? Also, during those times when you have a hard time calming her down, do you wonder if what she is upset about is her separation from the day care provider? Do you think she could be grieving the loss of her provider during the week ends? Would it be helpful to post pictures of the provider in your daughter’s crib? I have heard of moms who even ask to borrow the day care provider’s sweater each weekend to preserve the link. Creative idea, you could try? Anything that helps the process of being in daycare go more smoothly will be good for your daughter – and believe it or not, good for you too.

  • Don

    What a bunch of junk. There actually are serious, academic studies that go far to explain most of the differences- and while I support Obama, the 77% figure is just plain wrong- unless one doesn’t calculate in personal choice.

    An anecdote worth noting is that women now make up the majority of pharmacy students- previously almost the total domain of men. When I questioned several academics on this subject it was explained to me that they like the pay, the certainty of having a job, and the regular hours of retail pharmacy work- the vast majority of pharmacy jobs.

  • http://www.bicyclehighway.com/ Alan

    I do not agree with Mary Mayer Hennelly that “any parent who works is depriving their family.” That does not make sense to me. Ms. Hennelly: have you ever considered the fact that a working parent is contributing to the financial life of the family? That is hardly a deprivation, is it? You are doing a great hindrance to parents who work. The goal of blogs like this should be to help not hinder. Try to remember there are other people who are not the same as you. Being a librarian is important work; we should never use it to spread hurtful information about working parents.

  • Joanna

    I was shocked and horrified to hear Caitlen’s comments on women’s “natural” roles. I cannot believe that NPR gave airtime to someone who so brazenly blends sociological learning with a false understanding of nature and biology. She is a detriment to those around the world trying to bash traditional and false gender stereotypes.

  • Tara

    I’ve heard that 60% of scientists in Norway are female. I can’t verify this, but a Norwegian friend told me he thought it was true. I’d like to know how Norwegian culture and society have made this happen. I’d love to hear a show on this topic.

  • Barb

    I agree with Joanna – we do not tune into NPR to hear a variety of opinions! If we wanted to hear a program that includes a wide spectrum of American ideas, we would go to the network news. NPR is a place I can trust to bring me the progressive ideas I value, without interference from the other side. Once I tuned into a broadcast dealing with how to compost simple things around the kitchen you would never think of composting, and it was the most informative thing I’d heard on the subject – but then they brought in someone who was against the very idea of composting, because of germs and odor. How many future composters did we lose because of this misguided attempt to reach a larger, more inclusive audience? This show was about ways women can get together and talk about how it feels to get 77 cents on the dollar – how it really feels, how it shapes our self-identity – not about the facts underpinning the number or anything else. Many in our society have spoken to the danger of “siliencing” women – but the guest is someone NPR should silence.

  • Grace O’M

    I’m fairly certain that Norway supports women in the sciences in a variety of ways, for example by rethinking what we in the US consider the “scientific method” – I think Norway’s approach to science is more holistic and relational, not so binary, right vs. wrong, etc.

  • cjl

    Why didn’t you get some Sociologists or Economists to discuss this issue, you know people who actually research pay and work inequalities, rather than one business school academic and a couple of hare-brained journalists. Seriously, Jessica and Caitlan are not qualified to discuss an issue as important as this. Jessica’s “knowledge” of the issue is very shallow, which was evident whenever she was pressed to actually discuss explanations for the pay gap. Frankly, Caitlan sounded like a nutjob with real issues about working mothers when she started prattling on about women’s most important job being raising kids. Come on, I thought we moved past that gender essentialism crap three decades ago! If you were going to give the issue of work inequality such shoddy treatment, why didn’t you just invite a panel of actors, musicians, and comics on the show, at least then the discussion would have been funny.

  • Laura W

    cjl – these are really important ideas, especially the one about gender essentialism. I would love to hear more from you in regards to this topic. Have you ever considered contacting npr and going on air as a commentator? You are obviously more qualified that the people they usually have appear on air.

  • Nicholas

    Mr Ashbrook, I specifically downloaded this podcast because I wanted to hear the current facts about pay inequality, along with the insightful commentary regularly provided by your guests. The last time I heard a reliable statistic for pay equity was ten years ago.

    I was very disappointed in you and your show when, right at the beginning, after the moderator repeating the 77-cent statistic several times, your first guest begins by saying that the statistic ignores job choice. LOLWUT? A statistic that doesn’t correct for the most basic variables is meaningless — literally, not figuratively, meaningless.

    You hosted an absurdly counter-factual claim on your show, which might be perpetrating a lie. Are women paid unequally? If so, that’s something I want to know about, to try to fix — but how the heck are we supposed to know if your entire show is premised on a bad statistic?

    I have to say, I don’t know whether the rest of the show was all about how the 77-cent statistic is hogwash, because I immediately turned it off. I could not stand to hear again about gender equality, with the supporting evidence being sham statistics, so I stopped listening right then. If, as I suspect, the rest of the program treated the statistic with credulity and relevance, then I strongly chide you for deeply unprofessional and unethical journalism. Certainly, the show’s text description states the statistic declaratively, which is a violation of the trust you’ve earned from me by your track record of excellent reporting.

    In order to keep enjoying your show, I am going to have to convince myself that your staff, in your absence, was hoodwinked by some kind of chicanery, which will never be repeated as I listen in the future.

    Although I address my comment to Mr Ashbrook, I direct it at the individuals who were responsible for the program, in proportion to which my comments apply to each.

  • Roger

    Well said, Nicholas. I, too, was expecting a reliable and authoritative podcast on the pay gap, which I had downloaded and planned to listen to as I took my morning walk through the Berkshires, preparing for my class (I teach composition and gender theory at an underfunded community college, where I have tenure and little else, save the unpleasant knowledge that my meager salary outpaces those of my highly talented and accomplished female colleagues). Yet such was the folly of the “research” presented at the top of the show that I was forced to abandon the podcast and listen instead to a cooking program that I downloaded months ago and that requires ingredients which, while they are apparently sometimes “in season” will never, ever be “local,” at least not to Vermonter like myself. Insult to injury. That the show was left in the hands of four women was the ultimate slap in the face to a feminist like myself – their incompetence would leave the uninformed listener to assume that the pay gap is the result of little more that an “ability” gap, which is clearly not the case.

  • Todd

    “That the show was left in the hands of four women was the ultimate slap in the face…”
    Posted by Roger

    But, the unanswered question, still burning on the minds of listeners: does Jane Clayson earn as much as Tom?

  • Mark

    These women who complain about this imaginary wage gap are the same that expect a man to pay for dinner. WTF???!!! You cannot have equality with these expectations.

  • Todd

    “These women who complain about this imaginary wage gap are the same that expect a man to pay for dinner. WTF???!!! You cannot have equality with these expectations.”
    Posted by Mark

    @ Mark:
    Oh, haven’t you heard? “Selective equality” is the new “double standard.”

    I hear ya buddy!

  • Mark

    I hear you Todd. There have already been books published that debunk the wag gap theory. Women only want equality if it won’t cost them money. I absolutely hate American women.

  • listener in Brooklyn

    This show created more problems than it addressed.

    How could Caitlin Flanagan even bear to be on air when she just-might-be-missing-something-her-child-said? Or was she staring out the window despondently between bites?

    Her brand of biological determinism is as outdated as it is unhelpful.

    A disturbing level of discourse for an NPR show, and I’m despondent over the lack of oversight and insight provided by Jane Clayson.

    And Mr. I Hate American Women: I’m sure they harbor no great affection for you either.

  • George

    Feminists often claim that women are only paid 77 cents on the dollar for “equal work” — but if that’s the case, why do men suffer over 90% of workplace injuries?

    If the work really was equal then you would expect women to suffer half of the injuries. Obviously, the most difficult and dangerous jobs are being done by men, not women.

  • Craig

    Wage-gap? Please.

    Companies would be female dominated if women honestly worked for .23 less than men. Why would any company not want to reduce their payroll costs by almost a quarter?

    The “wage-gap” wouldn’t exist if women were lining-up with men to apply for blue-collar professions.

    Until you are willing to get your nails dirty, enjoy the gap.

  • becky langley

    Equal pay for equal work. Simple. When a man and a woman are hired to do the same job they must be paid the same wage. And in 2010 in America women (on average) get paid .80 for the SAME job a man gets paid $1.00. The other issues have no bearing on the need to change this.

Sep 18, 2014
Flickr/Steve Rhodes

After a summer of deadly clashes between Gaza and Israel, we talk to Jews on the left and right about the future of liberal Zionism. Some say it’s over.

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Billionaires. We’ll look at the super super rich, and their global shaping of our world.

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Bob Dylan and Victor Maymudes at "The Castle" in LA before the 1965 world tour. Lisa Law/The Archive Agency)

A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

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