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Audio Transcript: Stahl_Gender Pay Gap
By Shoshana Stahl SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Pay inequality amongst genders is woven into almost all industries across the country. The gender pay gap is a systematic issue that has been around for decades. Although the gap may be closing, women still only make 87 cents on the dollar compared with men, according to an article published by The Washington Post on publications owned by Dow Jones.
With movements like Time’s Up, women are standing up for themselves and equality. The gender pay gap is not a new issue but one that has been brought to attention in the media more recently.
CBS FM Morning Show Co-host Patty Steele experienced sexism when negotiating her salary at a previous job. Her agent went in with a dollar figure because the radio station was pursuing her. The boss told her agent that he never paid a woman that much before.
Her agent made it clear that he was not hiring a man or woman but he was hiring talent. Steele believes that in this industry, it should not matter if you are male or female talent because it is about your skill set.
Steele believes that in order to work towards closing the gap, women have to know their worth.
“I think it is important to value yourself. I think that’s an essential thing and to take a look around and network with others, not just other women, but guys as well and kind of get a sense of what they make and what they do,” she said.
A lack of transparency between employers and employees about pay helps maintain the gap. The concept of keeping salary a secret is a norm for society but this cultural norm allows companies to continue the inequality without question or fight.
Professor of magazine journalism at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School Harriet Brown says that transparency is key to negotiating the best deal for yourself.
“I personally think that just being very transparent about what we make, like I never minded telling my colleagues what I make, because I think that’s how we make sure it’s equitable for everyone. Management and employers, they don’t like that because they’re trying to get the best people for the lowest amount of money usually,” Brown said.
At the beginning of her career, Brown found out that her male counterpart was making double her salary. The company did not inform her of this but the male colleague did when she asked him.
Brown also admits that she experienced pay inequality when first hired at Newhouse. She said some women were given lower positions and lower pay than male colleagues. The pay gap still continues at Newhouse years later, according to a recent University survey.
When people ask why the gap is still continuing, some say that it has always been this way. LA Times political reporter Seema Mehta believes the inequality is institutional and historic but is not sure why it continues to exist.
The LA Times voted to unionize this year, with a vote over 80 percent in favor of unionizing. Mehta says one of the things the company plans to look at is comparing the pay of genders.
“One of the things I’m hopeful about since we recently formed this union is the fact they will be able to address this and to quantify it because I think that’s the first step,” Mehta said. “We all think it exists but we don’t know exactly how.”
Indiana University conducted a survey of around eleven-hundred journalists in the United States and found that women earn 83 percent of what men do.
It is ironic that there is such a large pay gap in an industry that is constantly exposing these issues within other industries. Journalists are supposed to be the watchdogs of society, yet in their own backyard they are unable to fight the same inequality so many others face.
These results pose the question of how we can continue to work towards closing the gap. Women in positions of management and strength in numbers is one step. Another step is transparency about pay.
Steele has hope for future generations but is still cautious.
“I’d like to say that your generation, as you progress in the next 20 years or so, will find it easier and I believe you will. Will it be the ultimate where you don’t see a difference? Probably not,” she said.