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We all know the number: The average U.S. woman is paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to her white male co-worker.

As we watch the wage gap close inch by inch every year (but not last year — see #1 below), we’ve grown accustomed to the fact that the average American woman has to work an extra three months every year just to catch up with what a white man would be paid in her position. And that’s just an average; for some groups of women, pay discrimination is much, much worse.

As you organize to fight the pay-triarchy this Equal Pay Day, here are 7 lesser-known facts about the wage gap you need to know.

1. The pay gap got worse in 2017.
There are 7 Equal Pay Days each year, representing how far into 2018 particular groups of women need to work in order to catch up to what men earned in 2017 (Moms vs. Dads, Black women vs. white men, Native American women vs. white men, etc.). The later in the year Equal Pay Day falls, the more severe the pay gap. Latinx women, for example, experience the biggest gap in comparison with white men, so the Latinx Equal Pay Day isn’t until November.

Last year’s Equal Pay Day was April 4. This year we’re “celebrating” on April 10, meaning pay discrimination actually got worse in 2017. We can’t take for granted that the wage gap will shrink from year by year. We have to keep fighting to close it, and close it more quickly.

2. Two weeks ago, Trump issued an executive order revoking the Fair Pay Act.
With little warning, on March 27, Trump revoked President Obama’s 2014 Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces order, which helped make sure companies receiving federal funding complied with federal labor and civil rights laws. By revoking this order, Trump made it easier for companies to pay women less than men.

He also made it easier for large companies to force workers to sign arbitration clauses — or secret “cover-up clauses” — which are used to silence victims of sexual harassment and discrimination, and keep claims out of court and off the public record.

3. For Black women, San Francisco currently has the worst wage gap of any big city.
In San Francisco (where our office is located), Black women are paid only 47 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men are paid — the worst wage disparity in any of the country’s 25 biggest cities. Nationally, the average for Black women is not much better, at 63 cents.

4. At the rate we’re going, the gender wage gap won't close until 2058.
This figure is based on an average, meaning the higher salaries of Asian-American and white women are speeding up the estimate. But for Latinx women, who are paid only 54 cents for every dollar paid to white men, the wage gap wouldn’t close for another 215 years.

5. Native American women have to work an extra 9 months (until Sept. 27, 2018), just to catch up to what white men earned in 2017.
Native moms are up against racism, sexism, settler colonialism, AND the maternal wage gap, making just 49 cents for every $1 paid to white dads.

6. Across the board, moms earn less.
While women on average are paid only 80 cents per dollar they should earn, moms earn even less — 71 cents on average — despite being the sole, primary, or co-breadwinner 64% of the time. For trans and gender-nonconforming moms, it’s even worse, because they experience poverty at 400% higher rates than the general population.

7. We can do something about it in California: SB 1284
Equal Rights Advocates is co-sponsoring a few bills that will help close the gap. Let’s expedite the process of fixing pay discrimination in California, and lead the country forward on the path to equal pay.

SB 1284 is a bill that would require large California employers to report how much they pay workers broken down by gender, race, ethnicity, and job category.

Employers often aren’t even aware of pay disparities happening under their own roof. This bill would empower large employers to discover where disparities exist and address them. It would also promote more effective, proactive enforcement of California’s equal pay laws, and make sure race and gender wage gaps do not remain hidden from sight.

Join us in doing something about it! Ready to help us close the wage gap in California, and lead the rest of the country forward on equal pay? Tell your senator to vote yes on SB 1284 with our easy-to-use form here.

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Join us on Wednesday, June 6 in San Francisco for one of the premier women's rights events in the state. As we celebrate incredible partners and champions for gender justice, we will be honoring the galvanizing influence of sexual harassment silence breakers. 

Get your seat before the event sells out - contact Tracey Heather at theather@equalrights.org for tickets and sponsorship details!

 

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This post was originally published as "From Hollywood to Academia" with The Activist History Review.

A note from ERA: Kristen Hillaire Glasgow wrote the below piece in January 2018, years into the Title IX investigation process at UCLA. Kristen first reported her experience of sexual assault to the university in 2013, in support of another graduate student who had recently stepped forward about her assailant, History professor Gabriel Piterberg. This March, UCLA announced that a Title IX investigation had determined that Kristen's professor had violated the university's sexual harassment policy. As covered by the LA Times, Piterberg has agreed to leave his position and forgo future employment in the University of California system. The UCLA Title IX coordinator who led Kristen's second investigation that resulted in this positive outcome has since gone on to be the system wide UC Title IX coordinator.

Below, Kristen discusses how the communities of Hollywood and academia "are remarkably similar in how & why they harbor sexual predators." Earlier this month, Equal Rights Advocates announced a slate of anti-sexual harassment bills, supported by activists within Hollywood. This week, we filed suit against Sacramento City Unified School District for the gross mishandling of student sexual assault.


Having grown up in Hollywood during the late 1960s through the 1980s, I have not only witnessed sexual harassment, I have experienced it firsthand. I understand how it is an integral part of the way Hollywood operates, where abuse of power is seen as a sign of strength and sexual harassment is as ubiquitous as the palm trees that line Sunset Boulevard.

My father was a well-known manager, representing Bill Cosby and other famous men. He also managed women, like Joan Rivers and the rock band, Fanny. The difference in their treatment by the Hollywood community was stark in contrast. My own experiences as an actress and singer were rife with accounts of sexual harassment and sexual intimidation, by which I mean that men suggested I sleep with “so and so” in order to accelerate my career. Show me a powerful man in Hollywood who has not sexually harassed women and that would be a story to cover.

I left show business because I was not willing to play the game, whether in terms of my own exploitation or the shallowness of the industry writ large. Show biz was not fulfilling in any capacity, since I had long-seen its seedy underbelly. I was searching for a career with more depth, something challenging yet satisfying. So, at thirty-three, I enrolled in community college, worked my way through undergraduate, and entered the Ph.D. program in history at UCLA. I had found my calling. I wanted to be an academic. Little did I know that, more than a decade later, I would leave the profession because, like my time in Hollywood, I was not willing to play the game of sexual harassment or intimidation to accelerate my career.

My father, Roy Silver, was at the height of his success as a manager and producer in the 1960s and 1970s. He launched Bill Cosby’s career from “start to stardom,” as he liked to say, and soon after both men were winning Grammys and Emmys for Cosby’s comedy albums, producing “I Spy,” and starting a production company called Campbell, Silver, Cosby. Being too young to know about issues of sexual harassment, I was not aware of anything Cosby would subsequently be accused of doing by over sixty women. This does not mean that their accounts are untrue. Even though my father’s management of Cosby ended in the early 1970s, rumors were already circulating.

I wanted to be an academic. Little did I know that, more than a decade later, I would leave the profession because, like my time in Hollywood, I was not willing to play the game of sexual harassment or intimidation to accelerate my career.

Harvey Weinstein recently quipped that his behavior was merely a sign of the times. Horrifyingly, he is not entirely mistaken. The time period is well documented with abuses of unquestioned power and unabashed solicitation of sex combined with excessive drug use. The difference, however, is that Weinstein blamed the historical timeframe of the sexual revolution, invoking sex, drugs, and, in his case, films, to justify predatory acts. And if Cosby and Weinstein were outliers as serial assaulters and rapists, sexual harassment remained a major component of Hollywood’s DNA. Those who managed to carve a place for themselves in the competitive world of show biz were not going to blow the whistle and risk ending their own dreams and aspirations.

During this same time period, my father was also managing the nascent careers of Joan Rivers and Fanny, the latter the first all-female rock ‘n roll band signed under contract to an American record label. Yet unlike Cosby or my dad’s other male clients, Rivers and Fanny were treated differently by the male moguls of the industry. Rivers was difficult to sell as a star because she was not conventionally pretty, while Fanny was difficult to sell because they were playing rock ‘n roll and were too pretty. These women were entering fields dominated by men—whether in comedy or the record industry. This not only meant breaking down professional barriers, it meant having to infiltrate an old boys’ club that didn’t want them there as equals, only as commodities.

Even though my father was certainly a man of his era and enjoyed women as much as his Glenlivet, he was hyper-aware of the inequity and unfairness for talented women trying to break into male-dominated fields like comedy or music. Another client of his, Carole Wayne, a blonde bombshell, was lusted after by the men on the set of the Tonight Showand was a frequent guest in comedy sketches alongside Johnny Carson. Joan Rivers, however, was “not pretty enough” and was therefore a hard act to pitch. A beautiful side kick was easy, but a cerebral comic, not so much. Significantly, because Rivers was not considered attractive, my father and her agents were unable to potentially offer her up as sexual leverage to land her a gig. Rivers’ physical appearance diminished the value of her intellectual attributes while tacitly signaling her rejection as a sexual object to Hollywood’s chauvinistic power brokers who remained the gatekeepers of her success.

Sexual harassment in academia is a carbon copy of Hollywood in that it enables abuse at the hands of a few elitist men in positions of authority and has destroyed too many careers of talented women trying to enter their profession of choice.

Contrary to what my father faced with Rivers, Fanny was composed of four conventionally attractive women. After their first record was released in 1970, they went on tour across the U.S. and Great Britain. These female musicians were asked to open up for The Who and jammed with David Bowie. Yet, despite their success, the only question they were asked was whether they were truly playing the instruments (they were) or if it had been men playing behind the curtain. The audiences, the radio DJs, and the nightclubs collectively saw Fanny as a novelty act. It was unthinkable that women could play in a band on their own without Svengalis like Berry Gordy or Phil Spector. What was not a novelty, however, was Fanny perpetually being exposed to the predominance of powerful men in the music industry. They experienced the ongoing carrot-dangling of fame in exchange for the unsolicited and non-consensual propositions of sex.

When I was a singer and actress in the 1980s and early 1990s, the liberality of sexual harassment permeated every aspect of Hollywood. Many of the names being outed today in the #metoo movement were known then, and it was more than an open secret. It was patently understood that successful careers were made with casting couch consummations. This was not new or surprising to me. What was new and surprising was having to experience the monotonous and serial sexual harassment first hand.

One incident changed everything for me. I was being interviewed by a man who was potentially going to manage me as a singer/songwriter. At our meeting, he name-dropped one famous person after another as I feigned interest and awe. The conversation turned to him asking if I would be willing to bring my music over to a well-known producer’s hotel room that evening. It was already late afternoon. The situation suddenly became very real. When I told him that I wasn’t comfortable doing that, he stood up from his chair, almost knocking it back, and screamed with disgust, “Do you really want to have a career like Bonnie Raitt’s, where it took her over twenty years to make it because she wouldn’t fuck her way to the top?!” I thought to myself, “Oh, if there’s a God in heaven, please let me have Bonnie Raitt’s career.” But I knew that wasn’t his point. It was, however, the point that turned me away from Hollywood and toward academia. Naively (I now know), I thought I would be recognized for my intellectual talent and not for what I might potentially offer someone sexually in exchange for a shot at being famous.

Once I came forward publicly, I was labeled “crazy” by some in the academic community, both men and women.

I have now been a doctoral candidate much longer than anticipated, having entered the program over a decade ago. The main reason is that academia, like Hollywood, is filled with those in power and those who are seeking it, and the chasm is almost insurmountable. As in Hollywood, there are games, hoops, and behaviors that must be performed for the slimmest chance of achieving scholarly goals, including tenure. Like Hollywood, academia is a small, private, and elite world where only the few get in and even fewer remain influential and vital in their work. And, like Hollywood, the profession has long been dominated by men.

I noticed the similarities between Hollywood and academia soon into graduate school. As a woman, I found myself having to perform in similar ways as to my days in Hollywood, despite having a well-earned and impressive C.V. After Hollywood, I foolishly thought I could handle the seemingly-innocent flirtations of older professors in exchange for potential letters of recommendations and scholarly contacts. I was wrong. Like in Hollywood, where men in power may pretend to be interested in an actresses’ work to curry sexual favors, older male academics often treat female graduate students in the same way. I have been privy to many conversations where they unabashedly commented on the physical attributes of their female students and colleagues, while dismissing their intellectual contributions. And I’ve often heard these same professors snidely remark that female academics don’t produce as much scholarship and only received fellowships and/or tenure because of diversity requirements.

Both Hollywood and academia are cloistered communities, where access is contingent upon a certain degree of talent as well as the inherent inequity between the actor and the mogul or the graduate student and the professor. Sexual harassment in academia is a carbon copy of Hollywood in that it enables abuse at the hands of a few elitist men in positions of authority and has destroyed too many careers of talented women trying to enter their profession of choice.

In 2015, I brought a lawsuit against my university’s Board of Regents for failing to protect me under Title IX after a tenured professor sexually assaulted and harassed me. Once I came forward publicly, I was labeled “crazy” by some in the academic community, both men and women. I was ostracized by peers and faculty, as well as blamed for having somehow brought this on. I was the subject of unfounded gossip, including that I was making excuses to not finishing my dissertation or that I had returned to school only to marry a professor. What became evident to me was that it was easier for many in academia to use traditional and unsubstantiated victim-shaming rhetoric rather than believing that a well-known and prestigious scholar could be a sexual predator. After almost a year and a half in litigation, the school settled the case. But, to this day, the professor remains employed.

What is striking about sexual harassment in academia is that, like in Hollywood, where a starlet speaking out against a producer’s sexual advances often marks the death of her career, a graduate student speaking out against a professor often results in similar professional annihilation. The producer or the professor can claim that the starlet or the student is crazy, untalented (or unintelligent), or difficult to work with. These inaccurate but potent descriptions are often purposefully injected into the discourse in order to undermine her credibility. Having spent as much time in academia as I did in Hollywood, I never once heard a male professor refer to a male graduate student or colleague as being difficult to work with. It’s code for “she won’t play the game.”

The actions of a sexual predator are often excused, justified, or ignored because of the status and acclaim they bring to a film or an academic department. Oftentimes, financial settlements and non-disclosure agreements accompany the cover-up. Much easier to silence marginalized voices as well as those trying to dismantle the paradigm. Sexual predators in both professions have gotten away with their actions based upon a climate of silent complicity that has allowed the abuse of power to continue far too long without consequence. From Hollywood to academia, these institutions have both been trapped in a patriarchal time warp that is finally buckling under the cultural pressure to no longer tolerate sexual harassment.

 


 

Kristen Hillaire Glasgow is currently a Ph.D. candidate in History at UCLA. She entered the program as a (West) Africanist. Two years later, she did a field switch to U.S. history with an emphasis on nineteenth century African-American and Transatlantic history. Her dissertation focuses on free woman of color in Philadelphia, Boston, and Salem during the 1830s-1860s. These women were highly educated intellectuals and used their education and socio-economic status to help uplift poor people of color in the North and emancipate those enslaved in the South. Ms. Glasgow received her B.A. at UCLA in History with a minor in Art History. Prior to this, she was signed to a three-year contract to Warner Bros. Publishing as a songwriter at the age of fifteen, and remained in show biz until she was thirty. The rest is history. She can be contacted at kglasgow@g.ucla.edu or followed on Twitter at @KHGlasgow.

 

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Like anyone else, women work to support their families, fulfill their ambitions, and create a thriving lift. Sexual harassment, assault, and violence should never stand in their way.

Sexual harassment is prohibited in most workplaces under state and federal laws. But survivor stories shared over the past six months reveal glaring policy gaps that continue to leave too many people vulnerable to sexual harassment and violence. Currently, survivors face hurdles like short statutes of limitations, retaliation, insufficient redress, and lack of individual accountability.

We have an opportunity to close those gaps. We can make California the nation’s leader to combat sexual harassment.

Equal Rights Advocates is sponsoring four bills in Sacramento that will directly target these gaps leaving workers vulnerable. These bills would offer the nation’s strongest protections against sexual harassment and discrimination by:

  • Extending the amount of time workers have to file harassment and discrimination from one to three years;
  • Clarifying that individuals can be held personally liable for retaliating against an employee for exercising his or her legal rights;
  • Strengthening training requirements and other employee obligations to prevent workplace harassment;
  • Prohibiting non-disparagement agreements that force survivors into silence;
  • And clarifying that harassment by investors, elected officials, lobbyists, directors, and producers is unlawful.

Help us #TakeTheLead to combat sexual harassment – sign and share our petition urging California leaders to pass these bills and take the nation’s strongest stance against sexual harassment and discrimination.

 

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We all know the number: The average U.S. woman is paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to her white male co-worker.

As we watch the wage gap close inch by inch every year (but not last year — see #1 below), we’ve grown accustomed to the fact that the average American woman has to work an extra three months every year just to catch up with what a white man would be paid in her position. And that’s just an average; for some groups of women, pay discrimination is much, much worse.

As you organize to fight the pay-triarchy this Equal Pay Day, here are 7 lesser-known facts about the wage gap you need to know.

1. The pay gap got worse in 2017.
There are 7 Equal Pay Days each year, representing how far into 2018 particular groups of women need to work in order to catch up to what men earned in 2017 (Moms vs. Dads, Black women vs. white men, Native American women vs. white men, etc.). The later in the year Equal Pay Day falls, the more severe the pay gap. Latinx women, for example, experience the biggest gap in comparison with white men, so the Latinx Equal Pay Day isn’t until November.

Last year’s Equal Pay Day was April 4. This year we’re “celebrating” on April 10, meaning pay discrimination actually got worse in 2017. We can’t take for granted that the wage gap will shrink from year by year. We have to keep fighting to close it, and close it more quickly.

2. Two weeks ago, Trump issued an executive order revoking the Fair Pay Act.
With little warning, on March 27, Trump revoked President Obama’s 2014 Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces order, which helped make sure companies receiving federal funding complied with federal labor and civil rights laws. By revoking this order, Trump made it easier for companies to pay women less than men.

He also made it easier for large companies to force workers to sign arbitration clauses — or secret “cover-up clauses” — which are used to silence victims of sexual harassment and discrimination, and keep claims out of court and off the public record.

3. For Black women, San Francisco currently has the worst wage gap of any big city.
In San Francisco (where our office is located), Black women are paid only 47 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men are paid — the worst wage disparity in any of the country’s 25 biggest cities. Nationally, the average for Black women is not much better, at 63 cents.

4. At the rate we’re going, the gender wage gap won't close until 2058.
This figure is based on an average, meaning the higher salaries of Asian-American and white women are speeding up the estimate. But for Latinx women, who are paid only 54 cents for every dollar paid to white men, the wage gap wouldn’t close for another 215 years.

5. Native American women have to work an extra 9 months (until Sept. 27, 2018), just to catch up to what white men earned in 2017.
Native moms are up against racism, sexism, settler colonialism, AND the maternal wage gap, making just 49 cents for every $1 paid to white dads.

6. Across the board, moms earn less.
While women on average are paid only 80 cents per dollar they should earn, moms earn even less — 71 cents on average — despite being the sole, primary, or co-breadwinner 64% of the time. For trans and gender-nonconforming moms, it’s even worse, because they experience poverty at 400% higher rates than the general population.

7. We can do something about it in California: SB 1284
Equal Rights Advocates is co-sponsoring a few bills that will help close the gap. Let’s expedite the process of fixing pay discrimination in California, and lead the country forward on the path to equal pay.

SB 1284 is a bill that would require large California employers to report how much they pay workers broken down by gender, race, ethnicity, and job category.

Employers often aren’t even aware of pay disparities happening under their own roof. This bill would empower large employers to discover where disparities exist and address them. It would also promote more effective, proactive enforcement of California’s equal pay laws, and make sure race and gender wage gaps do not remain hidden from sight.

Join us in doing something about it! Ready to help us close the wage gap in California, and lead the rest of the country forward on equal pay? Tell your senator to vote yes on SB 1284 with our easy-to-use form here.

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