Category Archives: Women

4 of the Biggest Myths About the Gender Pay Gap At this rate, the pay gap will not close for 200 years.

The existence of the gender pay gap is a well-documented fact. Respected institutions from the Pew Research Center to the Senate Joint Economic Committee confirm that American women make about 77 cents to the average man’s dollar. For women of color, the disparity is even steeper. Yet conservatives and anti-feminists insist the research is flawed or that it ignores social factors separating men and women. At the current rate at which women’s pay is improving, the World Economic Forum says it will take 200 years to close the gender pay gap worldwide.
This makes it more urgent than ever that we debunk myths about the falsity of the gender pay gap. Here are four of the most common.

1. Myth: Women choose lower-paying work.

Anti-feminists and academic contrarians like to make the case that women are to blame for receiving lower pay because they freely choose lower-paying work. Breitbart likes to push this idea to appease its feminist-hating audience, with headlines like “Data Reveals Women Overwhelmingly Choose Lower-Paying College Majors.” In fact, studies have shown that many women avoid careers in finance and technology that typically pay more because they’ve been socialized to believe that women can’t excel in the sciences or because they lack female role models in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Some women even choose majority-female fields to avoid discrimination and sexual harassment in male-dominated workplaces, which the #MeToo movement has shown us still runs rampant.

Christina Hoff Sommers, a controversial scholar and critic of feminism (whom the Southern Poverty Law Center called out earlier this month for emboldening and legitimizing men’s rights groups) advocated this very argument in 2016 for Time. Feminists, in her view, falsely claim that:

“women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion. Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.”

Sommers refers to the well-established fact that even today, women still enter lower-paying fields, as a recent Glassdoor study shows that college majors that lead to lower-paying careers are female-dominated, while those that have more male students, like engineering, lead to high-paying jobs. According to Sommers’ line of thought, a woman should choose engineering over nursing, since she could make more money in that career path. She worries about “self-determination,” but doesn’t it limit a woman’s autonomy to suggest she choose a job path just because it is higher-paying, rather than one she is more passionate about? A better solution, many feminists have argued in response, would be to pay nurses, teachers and other largely female workers more money, rather than pressure more women to opt into certain careers just because they pay more.

Women don’t choose certain jobs because they pay less. On the contrary, historical trends show that as more women entered previously male-dominated fields, average salaries dropped in those jobs. As the Harvard Business Review explains, that’s because the jobs became less prestigious as they became female-d


“Researchers have found that the pay gap is not as simple as women being pushed into lower-paying jobs. In effect, it is the other way around: Certain jobs pay less because women take them. Wages in biology and design were higher when the fields were predominantly male; as more women became biologists and designers, pay dropped. The opposite happened in computing, where early programmers were female. Today, that field is one of the most predominantly male — and one of the highest paying.”

Sommers’ argument is also white-centric, ignoring the fact that poor women of color often do not have the same information or access to options that white women do. It is not “demeaning,” as she says, to assert that such women’s career choices are limited by their circumstances. It’s just the reality of American poverty.

2. Myth: Women choose to work fewer hours and select more part-time work than men do.

This argument has appeared in mainstream outlets such as Forbes, but it only tells part of the story of women’s employment in the U.S.

While it’s true that 31 percent of women work part-time compared to 18 percent of men, this can be largely attributed to the fact that the U.S. still lacks federally mandated family leave, unlike countries like Canada, Germany and the U.K. Without this job protection or flexibility, many women must choose part-time work over full-time. In many households, men are able to earn higher salaries than women, so lots of couples still choose to have the woman remain at home with the children while men go to work. According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, “more than half of the respondents thought children were better off if the mother stayed home” while “34 percent believed they’d be as well off if she worked. Only 8 percent said they’d be better off if the father stayed home.” This commonly held belief isn’t based in fact—stay-at-home-dads can raise kids just as successfully as stay-at-home-moms. In many families, these parenting gender biases and financial factors mean that women still sacrifice their careers to raise children.

3. Myth: Women choose jobs with flexibility over high pay so they can care for families.

Heejung Chung, a sociologist at the University of Kent who studies gender pay gap myths, investigated this subject last year. She found that, despite the popularity of telecommuting and remote work, this myth does not reflect the reality of most workplaces in 2018. The jobs women generally choose often do not provide the flexibility some economists think they prioritize over higher pay. Chung writes in Slate: “working in female-dominated workplaces such as care work, primary education, or places where the work tends to be largely clerical meant you were only half as likely to have access to flexitime compared to other workplaces.”

4. Myth: More women are getting college degrees than men, so the gap will close on its own.

Not true. As explained above, existing sexist social pressures will mean that women will continue to choose college majors that lead to lower-paying jobs. As the Washington Post explains, though the pay gap between younger and more educated men and women is narrower than for older Americans, male college graduates in their 20s still earn more than women the same age.

Credit: The Washington Post

Just because women today have more autonomy in decision-making when it comes to their careers than previous generations doesn’t mean we’ve finished our work in evening out the playing field. As long as male-dominated careers are seen as more prestigious; as long as girls are not encouraged to pursue higher-paying fields early on in life; and as long as working full-time as a mom continues to be a taboo, women will continue to wind up in jobs that pay less.

By Liz Posner/AlterNet

Posted by the NON-Conformist


Is the Women’s March more inclusive this year?

This weekend is an important horizon on the U.S. landscape of women’s history: People across the nation will mark the anniversary of the historic Women’s March on Washington. But for some women, the anniversary is another reminder of the shortcomings of the 2017 Women’s March.

Critics said the march centered on cis white women at the expense of women of color and trans women, both groups who many felt had more to lose under a new administration many saw as hostile to human rights. At the start, organizers of the women’s march were almost all white, though they quickly course-corrected by bringing on Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.

But some underrepresented women felt their issues — such as racism, discrimination, police brutality, LGBTQ inclusivity, and immigration — were relegated in favor of issues that matter most to straight, white, middle-class women.

“We have to decide: Do we want equality and justice for a select group, or do we want it for everyone, and we know all these issues are tied together,” said Ruth Hopkins, a Native American writer and activist. “Gender justice is related to economic justice and racial justice and we have to think about all these things.”

As the 2018 Women’s March and sister marches converge on Saturday and Sunday across the country, many women are asking: Has anything changed?

Women of color have a complicated history with feminism

Feminism’s long history of perceived racism, combined with what some women saw as a lack of intersectionality at last year’s march, resulted in many black women and women of color refusing to attend.

Intersectionality, coined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, is the recognition of how different backgrounds and the racism, sexism and classism that come with those identities overlap and impact the ways people experience oppression and discrimination.

More from USA Today

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Bye Felicia…I mean Omarosa!

Posted by Libergirl…Laughing OUT LOUD!

Recount Of Atlanta Mayor’s Race Still Looms After Razor Thin Margin Certified

The vote tallies for the runoff election in the Atlanta mayoral race are official, but with a razor-thin margin remaining, the trailing candidate said Monday that she plans to ask  for for a recount.

Image: David Goldman/AP

Election officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties, which both include parts of Atlanta, certified their votes, which still have Keisha Lance Bottoms winning the race. Bottoms’ lead grew from 759 votes in unofficial tallies released last week to 832 votes in the certified results. That still amounts to less than 1 percent of the votes.

The candidates have 48 hours from the certification in each county to request a recount, and Mary Norwood told reporters she would likely do so Tuesday.

“It is absolutely imperative that we take a look at every single ballot,” Norwood said.

More from TPM

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The founder of #MeToo doesn’t want us to forget victims of color

Image result for Tarana Burke
Millions of people have shared personal stories of sexual assault and harassment using the hashtag #MeToo. Now the woman behind the original Me Too campaign, created more than a decade ago, wants to make sure marginalized voices aren’t lost in the conversation. Tarana Burke, the founder of the movement, joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the viral explosion of her message and what comes next.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    But first, in recent weeks, millions of people have taken to social media to share their personal stories of sexual assault and harassment, using the hashtag #MeToo.

    The woman behind the original MeToo campaign wants to make sure marginalized voices aren’t lost in the current conversation.

    Tarana Burke created Just Be Inc. more than a decade ago. It’s a nonprofit focused on giving resources and support to young women of color grappling with sexual trauma and harassment.

    Tarana Burke, welcome.

  • Tarana Burke:

    Thank you.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    First, why did you start this 10 years ago? What was behind it?

  • Tarana Burke:

    Well, I’m a survivor of sexual violence, and I was working with young women who were disclosing their experiences with sexual violence.

    And my friend and I started an organization called Just Be Inc. to work with young girls, and we realized we needed to shift and start dealing with the issue of sexual violence in the community we were in.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Was there a particular case that spoke to you?

  • Tarana Burke:

    Well, there were several cases.

    But, you know, some years before we started this work, there was a young woman who had come to me with her story at a time in my life when I really wasn’t equipped to handle it. And I felt a real debt to her and wanting to do some work that would cover the work that I didn’t do at that time.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And that you didn’t say me too to her at that time.

  • Tarana Burke:

    I didn’t.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And so this is an offshoot of that.

    So, when you see this conversation, when you saw this conversation go national, go viral in this way, what came to mind?

  • Tarana Burke:

    Well, at first, I wondered how our work would be uplifted in that moment, right?

    And I realized that I needed to insert myself in the conversation for a few reasons, one, to make sure that the marginalized voices I represent weren’t erased, but also to provide people some context for the use of MeToo. We have a theory called empowerment through empathy, which is the basis for how we do the work.

    And I felt like it was necessary to ground the conversation in a body of work.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    You have said before that sexual violence doesn’t see race or class, but the response to it does. Tell me what that means.

  • Tarana Burke:

    That means that when we see things like Harvey Weinstein having dozens and dozens of accusers, and the only person he responds to is Lupita Nyong’o and — the black women, that means something.

    It also means that, when you have all of these powerful, rich, wealthy men who are white and attacking or are victimizing white women, it gets all of this attention, but you have somebody like R. Kelly, who has been a known sexual predator for two decades, but his victims are all black girls.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Why do you think that disparity exists?

  • Tarana Burke:

    Well, I think it’s rooted in the oppression that we,that people of color face in this country.

    I also think it’s rooted in the way we’re socialized to think about black girls and women of color, right? We’re socialized to not believe black women. We’re socialized to believe that we are fast and sexually promiscuous and things of that nature.

    And so, when people look at R. Kelly’s victims, they don’t see girls, little children. They see women.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    So, what comes next in this conversation? How do you take it from a hashtag to the real work that has to be done?

  • Tarana Burke:

    Well, that’s one of the reasons why I inserted myself, right, because the work was already being done, and we want to expand on that.

    I think what we have seen over the last month is mass disclosure across social media. And as much as that is empowering, it is also problematic in some ways. People don’t have a way to process. People don’t have a way to think about what happens after they disclose their experience with sexual violence.

    And so one of the things we want to do is really support survivors. We want to find ways to give resources to people in communities that don’t have resources. And we also want to activate folks who are ready to do the work of ending sexual violence.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    But you have also said that you want to look at the structural kind of inequities, deficiencies, not just the edge cases. Let’s not focus just on Harvey Weinstein, but the forces at work behind it.

  • Tarana Burke:


    I think that it’s a mistake for us to keep creating boogeymen. Every day, literally, there’s a new person that comes out, and everybody has shock and awe- Oh, my God. I can’t believe so-and-so did this.

    And the reality is that those people operate within systems that allow them to flourish. When we look at patriarchy, when we look at capitalism, these are systems that are in place that allow men like Harvey Weinstein, or Bill Cosby, and even R. Kelly to exist, because people are more invested in those systems than they are in human dignity.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    But what is necessary, especially by men?

  • Tarana Burke:

    You know, men keep asking that question.


  • Tarana Burke:

    I think men need to be proactive. I think that they don’t need to wait for women to lead the way, because this is really — the thing that troubles me is, oftentimes, men say, well, I want to be better because I have a daughter, because I have a wife.

    And, really, it should be, I want to be better because I’m a human being and I recognize that women are human beings, and I should be honoring their dignity and their humanity, and not just because I’m connected, have a familial connection.

    So, men need to be proactive. They need to do research. There are tons of organizations who help men understand patriarchy and privilege, and they need to start dismantling those things.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    You know, speaking of inserting yourself in the conversation, there’s a piece of legislation on Capitol Hill right now that has the title — MeToo in the title.

    But this isn’t something that you’re behind?

  • Tarana Burke:

    No, I’m not behind it. And I don’t — I don’t know what to make of it.

    So there was a MeTooCongress hashtag that came about, and I thought it was powerful that people in Congress were stepping forward and talking about the sexual harassment that they face in Congress.

    But the way this bill is being framed, I think people are thinking that this is something for survivors of sexual violence across the board, when it’s not. Just using the name MeToo feels like it’s trading on the popularity of the moment, which is fine, because everybody’s doing that.

    But I think they need to be more clear that this is not a bill that’s going to support survivors of sexual violence. It’s very specific to the people who work on Capitol Hill.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Do you think all of this attention is an actual tipping point, or are we going to get caught up in the next movement, the trends?

  • Tarana Burke:

    It’s definitely a viral moment, and I think that we should acknowledge that, and that’s fine.

    I think that people are really caught up in what’s going to happen and, you know, is this going to be a viral moment?

    What is going to happen is what we allow to happen. And so the work already existed. The work will continue. And I feel like this is a tipping point. This is a place where this is a cultural shift.

    And I’m going to do the best I can to take advantage of that and continue this work far beyond the hashtag.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right, Tarana Burke of Just Be Inc., the creator of the MeToo movement, thank so much.

  • Tarana Burke:

    Thank you.

    From PBSNewsHour

    Posted by The NON-Conformist

For Some Victims, Reporting a Rape Can Bring Doubt, Abuse—and Even Prosecution False reporting is a crime, one that some police would like to make a priority. But history shows the police can’t always tell the truth from a lie.

The women accusing the Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct have faced doubt and derision. Other women, who have alleged sexual assault or harassment by powerful men in Hollywood, Silicon Valley and elsewhere, have become targets for online abuse or had their careers threatened. Harvey Weinstein went so far as to hire ex-Mossad operatives to investigate the personal history of the actress Rose McGowan, to discourage her from publicly accusing him of rape.

There are many reasons for women to think twice about reporting sexual assault. But one potential consequence looms especially large: They may also be prosecuted.

This month, a retired police lieutenant in Memphis, Tennessee, Cody Wilkerson, testified, as part of a lawsuit against the city, not only that police detectives sometimes neglected to investigate cases of sexual assault but also that he overheard the head of investigative services in the city’s police department say, on his first day in charge: “The first thing we need to do is start locking up more victims for false reporting.” It’s an alarming choice of priorities — and one that can backfire.

In 2015 we wrote an article for ProPublica and the Marshall Project about Marie, an 18-year-old who reported being raped in Lynnwood, Washington, by a man who broke into her apartment. (Marie is her middle name.) Police detectives treated small inconsistencies in her account — common among trauma victims — as major discrepancies. Instead of interviewing her as a victim, they interrogated her as a suspect. Under pressure, Marie eventually recanted — and was charged with false reporting, punishable by up to a year in jail. The court ordered her to pay $500 in court costs, get mental health counseling for her lying and go on supervised probation for one year. More than two years later, the police in Colorado arrested a serial rapist — and discovered a photograph proving he had raped Marie.

What happened to Marie seemed unthinkable. She was victimized twice — first raped, then prosecuted. But cases like hers can be found around the country. In 1997, a legally blind woman reported being raped at knife point in Madison, Wisconsin. That same year, a pregnant 16-year-old reported being raped in New York City. In 2004, a 19-year-old reported being sexually assaulted at gunpoint in Cranberry Township, Pa.

In all three instances, the women were charged with lying. In all three instances, their reports turned out to be true. The men who raped them were later identified and convicted.

In 2001, a 13-year-old in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, reported being abducted and molested. “You keep lying and lying and lying and lying,” a police detective told her. In 2015, a physical therapist in Vallejo, California, reported being kidnapped and sexually assaulted. The police called her story a hoax. One lieutenant said that she “owes this community an apology.” In both instances, video footage later surfaced affirming the victims’ reports.

In Marie’s case, and with some of the other cases, the victims hadn’t acted the way the police thought a victim should act. Their affect seemed off, or they declined help from an advocate, or they looked away instead of making eye contact. As a result, their stories became suspect.

In Lynnwood, the police have since changed the way they do things to prevent anything like Marie’s case from happening again. Detectives today receive additional training about trauma and cannot doubt a rape report absent “definitive proof” that it is false. In an effort to build trust, the department ensures that victims get immediate help from specially trained advocates. Those changes correspond with guidelines for rape investigations that sex-crimes experts have urged for police departments around the country. Those guidelines stress: The police should investigate thoroughly while reserving judgment. Evidence trumps assumptions. The police should be wary of stereotypes; they should not, for example, find an adolescent victim less believable than an adult. Some victims will be hysterical, others stoic; police should not measure credibility by a victim’s response. Police should not interrogate victims. They should listen.

Nationally, police departments, victim advocates and academics have experimented with ways to relieve the burden on rape victims who might fear dismissal, or even arrest, by reporting their attacks to the police. Perhaps the most influential campaign to change police procedures is known as Start by Believing, sponsored by End Violence Against Women International, an organization that conducts training for the police and victim advocates. The campaign asks participants to make a simple pledge: Start the process of investigation by believing those who come forward. Police agencies in nearly every state have joined up.

Police in Ashland, Ore., started a program called You Have Options. Agencies that participate handle sexual-assault complaints in a radically different way. Victims can report a rape but request that the police not pursue criminal charges. The idea is to give more control to victims, who might otherwise be reluctant to involve themselves with law enforcement. The detective who founded the program believes it will help the police in the long term by increasing the number of people who come forward and allowing police to collect information that could be used in future investigations if a victim changes his or her mind.

Both programs are controversial. For instance, Stacy Galbraith, the detective in Colorado who arrested the serial rapist in Marie’s case, told us her starting point isn’t believing: “I think it’s listen to your victim. And then corroborate or refute based on how things go.”

You Have Options is an even tougher sell. Many police officers are instinctively resistant to the idea of not immediately investigating a rape. Their job, after all, is to catch bad guys, not let them get away.

It is clear that some law enforcement agencies have begun to experiment with ways to be more responsive to rape victims. It is equally clear that there are no simple solutions. The path forward will almost certainly be contentious. But if we are going to make it easier for victims to tell their stories to law enforcement, change is essential.

By Ken Armstrong, T. Christian Miller / ProPublica

Posted by The NON-Conformist


Movie stars are supposedly nothing like you and me. They’re svelte, glamorous, self-­possessed. They wear dresses we can’t afford and live in houses we can only dream of. Yet it turns out that—in the most painful and personal ways—movie stars are more like you and me than we ever knew.

In 1997, just before Ashley Judd’s career took off, she was invited to a meeting with Harvey Weinstein, head of the starmaking studio Miramax, at a Beverly Hills hotel. Astounded and offended by Weinstein’s attempt to coerce her into bed, Judd managed to escape. But instead of keeping quiet about the kind of encounter that could easily shame a woman into silence, she began spreading the word.

“I started talking about Harvey the minute that it happened,” Judd says in an interview with TIME. “Literally, I exited that hotel room at the Peninsula Hotel in 1997 and came straight downstairs to the lobby, where my dad was waiting for me, because he happened to be in Los Angeles from Kentucky, visiting me on the set. And he could tell by my face—to use his words—that something devastating had happened to me. I told him. I told everyone.”


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