Explained – Why Women Are Paid Less – FULL EPISODE – Netflix

Speaker 1: The pay gap between men and women around the world looks a little different, depending on how you measure it. In Poland, women earn 91 cents for every dollar a man does in Israel. It’s 81 cents in South Korea. Women make just 65 cents on the dollar.

Speaker 2: We know that just offering the potential of women, that is the fastest multiplier that we have in terms of loan growth. That is such an accelerator, eradicating poverty.

Speaker 3: You know, when you go to the store, you don’t get a woman’s discount. You have to pay the same as everybody else. So that comes out of your family income

Speaker 1: when someone mentions the pay gap. You often hear another phrase as well.

Speaker 4: Equal pay for equal work, equal pay for equal work, equal

Speaker 1: pay for equal work. That makes it sound like women are paid less for doing the same job as men, which means women are paid less just for being women. There’s a word for that discrimination. But a huge body of research from many countries shows that overt pay discrimination only potentially explains a small part of the gender pay gap.

Speaker 5: It’s a real number, but it really actually tells you almost nothing about the real disparity between

Speaker 6: men and women. Women aren’t looking for a leg up. They’re looking for an equal opportunity and are looking for equal pay. Big difference.

Speaker 7: If you want to change the culture, you can just sit down and wait. You have to do something about it.

Speaker 1: So if it’s not all about discrimination, why are women around the world paid so much less than men?

Speaker 4: The woman who works at a career has chosen to ignore that the woman’s place to sit and look at anyone. But it doesn’t matter whether you have a female body or a male body, you’ve paid for this man’s piece. The really advanced clerical work pays women 80 cents for every dollar of our time to stand up to have our voices heard. Women will lead the country.

Unidentified: That’s what this is all about. All about.

Speaker 1: The story in the United States is similar to a lot of countries, it wasn’t very long ago that most women, especially white women, didn’t work outside the home at all.

Speaker 4: When you go back to the 1950s, they weren’t very many women in the workforce. The women there were often not as well-educated as the men. They either didn’t finish college or they didn’t have the same credentials in college or they hadn’t gone to college at all.

Speaker 3: Most of the women in my neighborhood did not work. My mother did not work. The only women that I saw in professional roles were teachers.

Speaker 1: Most women didn’t get that far. 70 percent had menial jobs on factory assembly lines or in offices.

Speaker 4: Women workers who don’t mind routine, repetitive work and they’re good on work that requires high finger dexterity.

Speaker 1: People understood that a woman might need to earn a little money, but a career

Speaker 4: that was for men. Your high score on the technical aptitude test indicates that you can become a good actor.

Speaker 1: Discrimination was also totally legal, allowing employers to put out job listings for men.

Speaker 4: Only when I was growing up, I knew one woman lawyer

Speaker 3: one I never met a woman doctor

Speaker 4: I couldn’t have even imagined women engineers.

Speaker 1: The pay gap hovered around 60 cents on the dollar. It was caused by several interconnected factors like lower female education rates, women not being in the workforce in big numbers grouping in traditionally feminine industries, and the fact that it was perfectly legal to pay women less and then a slew of cultural norms about gender roles and aptitudes. These were the major explanations for the pay gap. And then in just a few decades, things changed.

Speaker 8: Now, the battle cry of the women’s liberation movement rings out on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The first woman to receive the highest honor of the National Geographic, the House broke into spontaneous applause. Benazir Bhutto, the new prime minister, is a first American woman in space, the first woman ever nominated to the Supreme Court, the first woman ever to run on a presidential ticket.

Speaker 4: My candidacy has said to women, the doors of opportunity or women are outearning men in college degrees and advanced degrees. Women are being engaged to bring the next generation a baby. For the first time in history, a women are actually outnumbering men in the workplace.

Speaker 3: This was just a sea change to see women competing for scholarships. I couldn’t have competed for going to schools that were not open to women taking on jobs that were closed to women. That’s changed just. Unbelievably, many

Speaker 1: of the factors that were causing the pay gap shrunk except for one,

Speaker 4: but what has stayed is that women bear children. They are assumed to be the primary caregiver,

Speaker 1: even as women became doctors and lawyers and heads of state. The popular expectation remained in society that they would still do most of the work of raising children in the United States, in the UK, even in progressive Scandinavian countries. Surveys today show that only a fraction of the population thinks women should work full time when they have young kids when it comes to men. The expectation flips 70 percent of Americans think that new fathers should work full time.

Speaker 3: There are still is a considerable percentage of people, not just in our country, but around the world who really think once you’re a mom, you shouldn’t be in the workplace. And that’s been proven wrong, short sighted over and over again.

Speaker 5: I learned after I went back when my time was constrained not by my employer, but by me, because I wanted to get home to that baby and spend time with her, that I could actually get a lot of work done in 15 minutes. I would take any opportunity to work. I’ve become, I think, a much better employee since I’ve had children.

Speaker 1: But even when a mother does work full time, just like her male partner, she spends nine hours a week more than him on childcare and housework over a year. That’s the equivalent of an extra three months of a full time job. This is the heart of the pay gap. And to understand why it helps to follow the story of a young couple just starting out on their careers.

Speaker 4: I often think about the trajectories of the many law students I taught. They look exactly the same. They have the same educational record, the same experience. And then you watch what starts to happen as they hit their late 20s, early 30s, childbearing years, and then they start thinking about having children if they have children. At that point, somebody has to be you can have lots of child care, but no apparent needs to be at home for those situations that needs a parent. So he’s likely to get promoted. She, on the other hand, has had to turn down some of those assignments, say no to some of that travel. So eight years out, ten years out, typically, he’s then a partner and he can do lots of things from there. She hasn’t made partner. She’s not earning the same. She’s working flexibly or even part time. And from there, her earning potential and his just keep diverging.

Speaker 1: This is the story the data tells us in study after study in a variety of different countries. One Danish study did an especially good job of showing how childbirth affects earnings. Here’s a man’s pay trajectory. Watch what happens when his child is born. Here’s the woman’s trajectory. So then if you compare the earnings of a woman with kids to a woman without kids, you can see that the pay gap isn’t as much about being a woman as it is about being a mom.

Speaker 3: The gender gap really is between women with children and everybody else.

Speaker 4: Women who are not caregivers earn 96 percent of every dollar. It’s a motherhood

Speaker 1: penalty. Some mothers don’t see this as a problem. They want to spend more time with their children and they don’t mind if that means making less money.

Speaker 6: Some women make a job choice based on the fact that they want to have families, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

Speaker 5: Presenting it as you know, a penalty is kind of denying first that women make that choice, but also that there’s some extreme value, not just for the children, the family, but also for the women. Making that choice

Speaker 6: a pay gap based on choices, you know, is different than a pay gap. That’s just because you’re a woman and you just can’t can’t get equal pay for doing the same thing a guy does.

Speaker 1: But often women and men don’t get the same choices. In the U.S., there are three times as many single moms as single dads. And growing up, most of us get the message that caregiving is more of a woman’s job than a man’s. Take, for example, a 1980s advice column about how to decorate your desk at work. That still rings true.

Speaker 3: Today, somebody wrote in and said, I’ve just gotten a big promotion, so I’m going to have my own workspace for the first time. How should I decorate it? And here was the answer. I can’t tell from your initials whether you’re a man or a woman, and the answer depends upon which you are. If you’re a man and you have a family, plaster your office with family pictures because people will think you’re a very good provider. If you’re a woman and you have children, don’t put pictures up in your office of your family. Because people will think you can’t keep your mind on your work,

Speaker 1: the roots of this issue go deep to how we understand family and mothers and fathers. It’s why the gap is so hard to close, but it’s not impossible to countries. Iceland and Rwanda have almost closed their wage gaps and in just a few decades and looking at these two cases reveals important lessons about what it takes to create a society where women are paid almost the same as men. Rwanda is one of the poorest nations on earth. And until a few decades ago, women were denied many basic rights before 1994.

Speaker 3: Women were not allowed to speak in a public.

Speaker 2: Married women were not allowed to open a bank account without the authorization of their husbands.

Speaker 1: But in 1994, everything changed.

Speaker 8: This was the first day of carnage and bloodshed in the Central African nation of Rwanda. People are feared dead. Tonight, the fiercest fighting yet in the Central African nation of Rwanda.

Speaker 1: In just three months, 800000 people were murdered.

Speaker 3: Losing my dad and my three brothers. I survived with my mom and my sister.

Speaker 1: After the violence, the Rwandan population was 60 to 70 percent women.

Speaker 2: It destroyed completely the social fabric. You do anything you can do to survive.

Speaker 1: The shortage of men meant that women had to step into the workforce in huge numbers, taking on jobs that a year earlier would have been unheard of.

Speaker 3: You’ll find a woman who was honest, for instance, or in the military. Gradually, women were found in being a mayor, a governor. Women actually were

Speaker 4: helping to change, you know, the country.

Speaker 1: The new government realized that to rebuild Rwanda, they needed women. So they immediately implemented a host of new policies aimed at getting more women into positions of power. The preamble to the new constitution included a commitment to equal rights between men and women, stipulating that 30 percent of representatives at all levels of government be women. Today in Rwanda, women hold 61 percent of the seats in parliament, the highest in the world. They have a labor force participation rate of 88 percent. Rwanda is one of the few countries where a woman is just as likely as a man to work outside the home. The Constitution also created the position of gender monitor who ensures that public programs are complying with the country’s goals of gender equality.

Speaker 4: A young girl in Rwanda doesn’t think that there is anything that she’s not allowed to do. They don’t have to grow in a system where they think there would be a ceiling somewhere.

Speaker 1: This cultural shift around gender began as a survival mechanism after the genocide. But thanks to aggressive policies, Rwanda has achieved lasting progress. In closing the gap. The World Economic Forum puts Rwanda’s pay gap at 86 cents on the dollar. Much further north, the small island nation of Iceland has also made major strides toward closing the pay gap, but they took a different path towards equality. The real turning point came in 1975.

Speaker 7: The year before I was born, the women of Iceland actually left their workplaces and went out on the streets in order to object to the gender pay gap.

Speaker 3: Without them in their jobs, businesses could not stay open. And it started a huge grassroots wave that, you know, slowly started changing society.

Speaker 7: The first result was really that women became a lot more visible in the political field.

Speaker 1: In 1980, five years after the strike, Iceland voted in the world’s first democratically elected female president. The number of women in the Icelandic parliament skyrocketed.

Speaker 7: Then, really, in the years to follow, you see policy changes.

Speaker 1: In 1981, Iceland passed a law that required employers to provide new mothers three months of paid leave that was extended to six months in 1988. Guaranteed maternity leave was a novel idea at the time, and Eisen’s was one of the most generous in the world. But as progressive as this law was, it encouraged moms to stay home while new fathers kept working, reinforcing cultural norms at the heart of the pay gap that women are caregivers and men are not. So lawmakers did something radical. What if they gave parental leave to dads and made it a use it or lose it benefit so dads would feel pressure to take it? Iceland passed that law in the year 2000.

Speaker 7: Obligational maternity leave has made a difference in the culture of men in Iceland, a very positive difference.

Speaker 3: The men of the youngest generations, they expect to take time off to take care of their children,

Speaker 7: which really makes all the difference both at home but also in the job market. Because now you can actually expect if you’re hiring a young man or a young woman, both will take a maternity or paternity leave.

Speaker 1: In 2004, the pay gap in Iceland was about the same as it was in the U.S. But in the years that followed, Iceland’s gender pay gap shrank to where today women in Iceland make about 90 cents on every dollar a man does. So we know that narrowing the gender wage gap is an impossible, but these kinds of family friendly policies might come with tradeoffs that we don’t immediately see.

Speaker 5: These are benefits. Having more of these choices available are great things. We should not expect them to come for free.

Speaker 6: Some women elect their children, some don’t. And some men elect our children, some don’t. Can I look at the person who elected not to have children say you got to pay for it in some way. If a mother takes off a lot of time, what does the small business person do who only has three employees? I don’t want to penalize a mother, but you also don’t want to penalize a small business owner. It’s not the same with a giant corporation because they have enormously more flexibility in sort of filling positions and it doesn’t hurt the bottom line.

Speaker 1: And while it might not be the biggest reason women are paid less than men and it varies significantly across countries and industries, women still don’t get equal pay for equal work.

Speaker 3: There is an irreducible percentage that is due to discrimination. It’s just very clear that much of what the workplace favors favors men. I’ve watched it in many different settings where, you know, the guy you talk sports with, the guy you go golfing with, he’s somebody that you get more familiar with and you’re comfortable around.

Speaker 1: But that kind of discrimination has declined over the decades. As more women enter the workplace and the culture shifted, changing the expectation that women should be the ones to raise children who require another cultural shift. And in the view of many who work on this issue, that shift begins with men.

Speaker 4: Until we think of men and women as both caregivers and breadwinners, we’re not going to get there because as long as it’s a woman problem, then we are reinforcing that stereotype that care is her job.

Speaker 3: It’ll only be less of a burden on women when men feel comfortable saying, hey, I’m going to that parent teacher conference, I’m not leaving it to my my wife or hey, I really want to go to this well, baby checkup. They’re going to get their vaccinations. I want to be there. The wage gap is not just a woman’s issue. It’s a family issue. Women have every right to be mothers without being penalized at work.

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