S2: E2 @InsecureHBO– Molly’s Fight for #BlackWomensEqualPay

For my recap of S2:E1, click here 

Molly has a problem: She’s learned that her colleague at her law firm is somehow earning more money than she does. She learned that a White male coworker was earning more when she erroneously received a paycheck made out to him. Shocked, she tried to dig and ask questions to find out what was really going on, only to realize it’s a classic case of racism + sexism = Waking up a Black Woman in America.

Issa Rae tweets as part of the Phenomenal Woman campaign for Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

July 31 is #BlackWomensEqualPayDay because it takes approximately 7 months of extra work into the next year to earn what a White man would earn in the same year.

Por ejemplo:

Brad Connor Anderson (representing White Male Earnings as a whole) earns $45,000 in 2016. LaToya Renée Johnson, who holds the same position, earns $30,600 and has to work until July 31 of 2017 to reach $45,000.

Why?

The way the wage gap is set up… sistas are just fucked, as a group. Economists factor in things like:

  1. Racist discrimination, limiting Black people’s access to higher education and higher-paying jobs in stable careers. Nearly 2/3 of minimum wage workers are women.
  2. Sexist discrimination, limiting women’s access to higher-paying jobs and sustainable careers still almost exclusively composed of men. Women in STEM spend more time proving they belong in their positions than doing their actual jobs, it seems.
  3. Women being assumed caretakers of home, children, and adult dependents means women take off more time from work to tend to home-based matters than men do. Child-bearers are also factored into these numbers when considering how time off correlates with lost wages which informs the data re: the wage gap.
  4. Women are given positions that offer fewer paid hours and fewer fringe benefits which makes self-care often out-of-reach for those who need it. Without self-care and preservation, juggling work and home life, women can exit the workforce more quickly than men.
  5. Hostile work environments also hasten women’s exits from the workforce, which is the point, right? Sexual harassment, theft of intellectual property, racial commentary that goes just a tad too far, and other micro-aggressions that make some work environments intolerable for women.
  6. Denial of support and access to resources for entrepreneurs and other business-owners who try to enter industries that have historically locked them out. Black/Latinx folks face harsher treatment when seeking business loans and for every $1 given to a woman seeking one, $23 is given to a man.

What Molly is experiencing is a very real issue that all women face to some degree or another. In a sexist society, where women have only been truly “welcomed” in the workforce for maybe 40-50 years or so, we know that discrimination and bigotry lead to economic stratification. We know that there remain those who believe a woman’s place is at home and not in the office. We also know that the government has a role to play in securing women’s equal rights and access to educational and career resources, as well as protection of bodily autonomy, but that it doesn’t play out so well. I mean, the government is primarily run but older White men who make 6 figures annually–what do they care?

Molly tries to schmooze a bit, invite herself into some “old boys club” activities, and make better impressions upon the head honchos just to realize that only goes so far. White men prefer the company of White men at work, for the most part, and they’re first priority is to usually to pass the baton of leadership to someone who reminds them of themselves and is hand-chosen to keep things going forward.

How hard you work doesn’t matter when you’re invisible where you work.

How much you sacrifice doesn’t matter when no one cares what you do when you leave.

How much stress you endure doesn’t matter when people think you’re invincible and impervious to stressors.

Molly has had a rude awakening that the game is rigged and with the help of her therapist, she is learning to stop anticipating how things should happen (if life was fair), and focus on how she can make it do what it do with what she got to do it with.

Let’s see how she works this out later on…

XOXO,