Women’s Equal Pay Day

April 2nd is Women’s Equal Pay Day, the additional number of days into 2019 that women had to work to earn as much money as men did during the 2018 calendar year.

At least it would be if women were one, undifferentiated, racially-mixed cisgender person.

In fact, when analyzed loosely by race, Women’s Equal Pay Day falls on a series of days over the course of the year.

It’s an imperfect lens but it does paint a picture. Fortune’s Emma Hinchcliffe breaks it down.

The first Equal Pay Day of the year arrived on March 5 for Asian-American Pacific Islander women, denoting that the group earns 85 cents on the dollar relative to men—the smallest pay gap. But even that statistic can obscure the challenges faced by lower-income AAPI women, specifically Thai, Cambodian, Nepalese, Laotian, Hmong, and Burmese-American women who earn closer to 60 cents on the dollar.

Equal Pay Day for white women, denoting a slightly larger gap, follows this year on April 19, according to the American Association of University Women.

After the April dates, there’s a four-month wait until the next Equal Pay Days roll around—a sign of how severe the pay gap is for black women, Native American women, and Latina women. Black Women’s Equal Pay Day will fall on Aug. 22, followed by Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day on Sept. 23, and Latinas’ Equal Pay Day on Nov. 20. That order means that Latinas face the largest wage gap, of around 53 cents on the dollar. Black women earn about 61 cents on the dollar and Native American women earn about 57 cents on the dollar.

For all the Equal Pay Days out there, there are still people who just aren’t buying the math.

According to new data from SurveyMonkey, it seems that while 62 percent of Americans do acknowledge the gap in pay, men and younger people are the most likely to incorrectly believe that all genders are paid equally for the same job.

And the numbers seem to be going in the wrong direction. Some 47 percent of the 8,566 Americans polled think all gender-based obstacles are gone, an increase from 44 percent last year. For men, those numbers are 58 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

“Most Americans recognize the gap and find it unfair, saying that someone should do something about it—whether it’s the government or companies,” says Jillesa Gebhardt, the research scientist who led the study, via email. “They’re not in agreement on what will actually help and are lukewarm about the effectiveness of solutions like requiring companies to submit gender and compensation information to the government, which has proven effective in other countries.”

Nilofer Merchant, the author of The Power of Onlyness, says that collective action is the only way to break through the barriers in sentiment and at work that all women continue to face.

“Many women ‘experts’ respond to data on pay inequality by offering ‘empowerment’ advice,” she writes in this opinion piece for Fortune. “’Speak up, stand out, and kick ass!’ This is alluring language to both the person saying it and those ready to believe it.”

But the idea of individual power is an illusion. Power, she says is social. And so is progress.

“The key to real, lasting change in women’s status in the workplace is to act collectively. Rather than focusing all our energy on changing our personal behaviors, we can work to create a professional system that benefits all women.”

On Point

Google employees demand an anti-LGBTQ adviser be removed from the company’s AI council

The call came in a public letter published by a group of employees asking that Kay Coles James, the president of the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation be removed from their new A.I. advisory council because of her “vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant” views. The letter, published in full on Medium, said that Google is “making clear that its version of ‘ethics’ values proximity to power over the wellbeing of trans people, other LGBTQ people, and immigrants.” Fortune

Report: Few black people get mortgages in Detroit

The Detroit Free Press used data collected via the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act to paint a bleak picture of home ownership and systemic inequality: White people make-up only 10 percent of the population in Detroit but got half of the mortgages issued in 2017. To make matters worse, entire swaths of the city are mortgage-free zones, meaning there is no functioning real estate market at all for many black residents. It’s a significant barrier to economic recovery, say experts. The situation is complex for potential black borrowers, who are plagued with credit woes, insufficient income, and burdensome childcare obligations, and a lack of supply of move-in ready homes. “As we’ve been sleeves rolled up, working in the community, we’re learning over and over how multifaceted the challenge is,” says Janis Bowdler, president, JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Detroit Free Press

Black and Hispanic autistic children are often diagnosed later than their white counterparts

While autism spectrum disorder or ASD, is found in all people of all races, research shows that black and brown kids are often diagnosed later, missing opportunities for vital treatment. It’s a complex problem, experts suggest. In some cases, access to healthcare is a barrier, and in some cases, parents and communities are mistaking ASD for behavioral or other issues. A kid who walks into a doctor’s office with reports of bad behavior in schools may bias counselors to believe they’re dealing with a conflict disorder, as well. "We've implemented a series of trainings with intake counselors on cultural awareness and sensitivity, and we're starting to have a lot of conversations about biases," says one counselor. NPR

Pro-Trump trolls are impersonating black people on social media

"I am a black trans woman and after this amazing speech tonight I proudly say I support Donald Trump my President,” Twitter user “BlackTransQween” wrote after President Trump’s State of The Union address. “We need to get behind this man.” The problem was that the account used the picture and persona of Charlene Arcila-Ecks, a transgender advocate who died in 2015. It’s a tactic that’s growing among trolls. “It’s a concerted effort to put on basically a digital blackface,” Shireen Mitchell, founder of Stop Online Violence Against Women told The Daily Beast. While online impersonations have been a staple of modern life, the problem has been growing since the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll factory, began buying ads to target black voters during the 2016 presidential election. Daily Beast

On Background

A prison system designed for rehabilitation

An ambitious new program for 18-25 year old incarcerated men is using therapy and brain science to help reduce recidivism, heal old wounds and reform the prison system. The program at a Connecticut prison nicknamed “The Rock,” is based on the German-style prison system, which boasts a recidivism rate half that of the U.S. While it’s still prison, the incarcerated men who qualify for the program also attend counseling, take classes - including art and yoga - and are free to mingle with staff. The program is called T.R.U.E., for truthful, respectful, understanding and elevating to success. While the concept is still met with suspicion from hardliners, preliminary data suggests that it may be working. CBS News

Reconsidering colonial history

Visitors to the American Museum of Natural History will recall a diorama depicting an imagined encounter between 17th-century Dutch settlers and the Lenape, an Indigenous tribe who lived in New Amsterdam or New York City. But the scene is false, and worse, staged with an eye to colonial conquest in mind: Submissive tribesmen wearing loincloths, topless women with downcast eyes, and a powerful white governor grandly extending his hand. After spending time pondering how to best remedy the grotesque stereotypes the exhibit perpetuates, the museum hit upon a unique solution - didactic labels written on the glass that point out the problematic aspects of the narrative. Think of it as pop-up videos for the anthropology crowd. New York Times

Why we eat white rice in Korea

Japan annexed Korea in 1910, the victor of a centuries-long battle with China for colonial control. (Writer Irene Yoo cites a Korean proverb and describes the battle as, “a shrimp between two whales”.) At the time, Japan was struggling to feed its own population and chafing under rice import restrictions. So, they set about to “revolutionize” production in its new colony, which then was growing 1,400 varieties of indigneous rice. A race to the flavor bottom was triggered, as new Japanese-introduced hybridization methods forced the colonists to abandon their diverse, flavorful varieties to deliver faster growing, higher-yielding rice. After the Korean War, Korean leadership bent on self-sufficiency continued to push for more, faster rice, which led to a long-grained, bland “miracle rice seed” in the 1960s. When did the now beloved, sticky, short-grained white rice first appear? Not until 1995, explains Yoo. Rice tells a story of oppression, wartime economics, and freedom, says Yoo. But for her grandmother, raised in Japan-occupied Korea, it’s a more poignant story. “But for my grandmother, rice—white rice—remained a currency.” Food52


Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference—those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older—know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master's house as their only source of support.
—Audre Lord

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