Back in April, former Clueless actress, Stacey Dash debated with Meredith Vieira on the Meredith Vieria Show about the topic of wage inequality, also known as gender pay gap. Both women discussed and went back and forth about their views of wage inequality and a way to counteract it. Though I disagreed with Stacey Dash’s views and found Meredith Vieria’s views on wage inequality as more valid and withstanding nonetheless wage inequality still continues to be a problem that plagues women across the country especially women of color.
Here is parts of the conversation between the Stacey Dash and Meredith Vieira:
Dash: “I feel like it’s an excuse. It’s the same thing with race. It’s an excuse. Stop making excuses,” the Fox News contributor said of the chatter over the gender pay gap. “If there are opportunities, seize them and be prepared for them, and be the best, if that’s what it takes. If you have to be extraordinary, then be extraordinary.”
Vieira: ” “I feel like we’re fighting an uphill battle. When you look at just the numbers, we(She is talking about White women here) make 78 cents for every dollar that a man makes,” she said. “At the rate we’re going, my daughter, who’s 22, will be 65 when there’s finally pay equality. There’s something wrong, something clearly wrong.”
Dash: “I don’t know if that’s true.”
Vieira: ”That’s true, that’s documented”.
Dash: “I feel like your daughter will be able to make as much money as she wants in her life. Just like you are — I mean, look at you.”
Vieira went on about working her way up in her career and being paid less than the men in her job field of choice.
Dash: ”And you think it’s because you’re a woman?”
Vieira: “I think that had a lot to do with it.”
Dash: ”I guess I won’t put my fate into anything other than my own action, and taking my destiny in my hands, I will not be a victim.”
Vieira: “I’m not saying I’m a victim, I’m pissed off.”
Dash: ”And that’s the thing: If you want to be pissed off about it, then be pissed off about it and work harder for it,” Dash responded. “Because there is a law passed that we get equal pay”
Vieira: ”Except we don’t. We don’t. We don’t.”
My views on the conversation between Meredith Vieira and Stacey Dash about wage inequality
Stacey Dash’s replies and comments about wage inequality and not being made to be feel like a ”victim” and ”be extraordinary” signifies how misinformed she is. First of all, she is a Black woman and Black women are paid less than both White women and White men. In fact, Black women are paid sixty eight cents to White men while their Caucasian counterparts are paid seventy eight cents to White men. Second of all, she doesn’t realize that she, as a Black person, has to be twice as good as a White person in anything that they do to even be recognized for their accomplishments and be treated with respect in their career and profession of choice. Last of all, she doesn’t truly understand how wage inequality and race and gender plays a role in not only women but especially women of color being paid less than their Caucasian and male counterparts. Hence her views were disparaged across the comment sections of blogs when her conversation with Meredith Vieira was discussed as the topic of a blog or website post.
Meredith Vieira’s views and talking points were much more valid and put to together. She was right about wage inequality and how she had to deal with being paid less than her male counterparts in her field of choice, which was being a news anchor and talk show host for decades. And she even pointed out that it would be until her twenty two year old daughter was sixty five until women and men are paid equally for doing the same job. Meredith’s views on wage inequality is based on research and her own experience of being paid less than men for doing the same job and her views had proven to be reliable and proficient at the end of the show however what she failed to realize was the fact that Black women are paid even less than White women for doing the same job. When she cited that ”we make 78 cents for every dollar that a man makes”, she forgot to realize that women of African American, Hispanic, and Native American descent make even less than Caucasian women and that the ”we make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes” only applies to Caucasian women such as her self. Regardless, Meredith’s valuable views on wage inequality wouldn’t be discredit however she forgot to understand how race plays a role in wage inequality as well.
Why is wage inequality still an important topic to speak about?
Women regardless of racial, class and gender classifications still find themselves making less than their male counterparts regardless of the fact that the woman may work in the same occupation that the man works in. Wage inequality, also called gender pay gap is where women are paid less for the same job that the man has done. Women find themselves making less than their male counterparts in many occupations and profession that they work in and it affects them because being paid less means not having enough money to pay bills on time and buy enough food and adequate supplies needed to survive in society. And being paid less also
How does wage inequality affect women of color?
Racial disparities also play a role in wage inequality as well since Black and Hispanic women are even paid less than their Caucasian counterparts due to how racial and gender oppression intertwines for them. White women make seventy-eight cents to the percentage of the dollar that White men make. African American women make sixty-four cents to White men. Native American and Native Alaskan women make sixty cents to White men make. Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women make sixty-six percent cents to White men. Hispanic women make fifty three cents to White men. Ironically, Asian women made eighty- seven cents to the White men.
And women especially women of color especially African American women are paid less than the men in their own racial and ethnic groups. African American women were paid eighty-nine percent cents to African American men were paid. Hispanic women were also paid eighty-nine cents to men in their own cultural and ethnic group. Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women were paid eighty-nine cents to men in their own race and culture. Native American and Native Alaskan women were paid eighty-seven cents to men in their race and group. Asian women were paid seventy-nine cents to Asian and White women were paid seventy-eight cents to White men.
It is ironic how Asian and Caucasian women were paid more than their Hispanic and African American counterparts compared to Caucasian men yet the wage inequality in their own races is wider than the wage inequality for African American and Hispanic women in their own races. And racial and gender pay disparities affect women from other races particularly African American and Hispanic women because wage inequality and lower paychecks amount to having less money to pay the bills, less likely to have enough money to move into a better and safer area, less likely to be able to buy things that they need to survive and less likely to have enough money to support themselves and their families. Education plays a role into this disparity because African American and Hispanic women were less likely to have graduated with a high school diploma or college degree while their Caucasian and Asian counterparts are more likely to be educated. And people who are less educated are more likely to be paid less than their counterparts who are more educated. And gender pay inequalities also varies by state because some state governments pay more than others. Washington state has the lowest gender pay disparity with women being paid eighty-five percent cents to men while Wyoming had the highest gender pay disparity with women being paid sixty four cents to men. Thus gender pay inequality affects all women based on the amount of education, which state that they live in and racial and class differences as well. Especially if the woman wants to be African American or Hispanic.
Ultimately, I truly believe that the problem of wage inequality could be solved one day. Feminists and women everywhere especially African American feminists can address this issue and find ways to solve it and ensure that all women are paid equally to men. After all, women are equal to men and deserve to share the same privileges and comforts that men take for granted in this society.
Links and where I get information about these topics from