It is not a secret that there is a very real wage gap between men and women. According to Statistics Canada, Women earn $0.87 for every dollar earned by men. As women, it irks us to know that men in similar fields earn more than us, despite doing the same work. Why should Connor deserve to be paid an additional 13 cents per dollar than Kailey or Rachel? What really is the basis for this disparity?
While all women experience a pay gap, statistics show that women of colour additionally earn less than their white female counterparts. While it's easy to complain about the 80% to the dollar women make compared to men, The National Organization for Women state that on average, Black/African-American women are paid 63% of the dollar men are paid. This is a statistic that needs more recognition.
In recent news, Octavia Spencer brought an interesting conversation to light while speaking on a panel at the Sundance Film Festival. While working on an upcoming holiday comedy together, Chastain and Spencer were expressing their frustrations about the gender wage gap in the film industry when Spencer informed Chastain that actresses of colour are paid even less than their white counterparts. After discussing this double wage gap, Chastain championed a favoured nations deal that would ensure Chastain, Spencer and co-star Jada Pinkett Smith received equal pay.
"She [Jessica] said, 'You and I are gonna be tied together. We're gonna be favoured nations, and we're gonna make the same thing. You are going to make that amount,'" Spencer said. "Fast-forward to last week, we're making five times what we asked for." - Octavia Spencer
It's encouraging to see women work together to fight systemic racism, but we still have a long way to go. The confounding issues of oppression experienced by women of colour are often overlooked by mainstream feminism - and this needs to change. We can't truly call for equality between sexes without first recognizing the layers to issues of inequality. It's important that women of all races to come together and to advocate for fair and equal pay.
The double wage gap is magnified in industries outside of Hollywood. Unfortunately, when we discuss the gender wage gap, the issue of the double wage gap burdened on women of colour fades into the background. It's 2018, ignorance to these issues is no longer an excuse and remaining quiet about systemic oppression can no longer be an option. Get informed, speak out and contribute to the movement of change. You'd be surprised at what we can accomplish when we all work together.