The Thing about Equal Pay Day

[Content Note: Privilege.]

The reason that the Obama administration released the fact sheet about measures to address the pay gap today is because today is Equal Pay Day: "Each year, National Equal Pay Day reflects how far into the current year women must work to match what men earned in the previous year."

I just want to make a quick note about Equal Pay Day: It's based on an average of 81 cents earned by women to the dollar worked by men. But using that average elides disparities among women.

Black and Latina women, on average, experience a bigger gap from the median income of non-Hispanic white men than do non-Hispanic white women.

Women with disabilities, on average, experience a bigger gap—and, in fact, it is still legal in some cases to pay workers with disabilities "according to their abilities, with no bottom limit to the wage."

Trans* women, on average, make less than their cis counterparts.

Fat women, on average, make less than their thin counterparts.

Education, class, location, religion, whether one is a parent—there are a lot of individual factors that get flattened beneath the average salary of "women" full-stop.

Equal Pay Day suggests that privileged women have to work harder than they do, and disappears realities of a vaster disparity for lots of non-privileged women. Which makes its moniker rather unintentionally ironic.

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