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Coming: Pay equity research findings.

        In short, womyn are paid half of what men are paid. Less than that it is, in fact, since you have to round it up to get to only 50%. Black womyn and Latinas fare much worse. Essentially, the usual story, that the ratio is about three fourths, is wrong and has been wrong for decades.

        Other researchers have limited their studies to certain groups of people. The Census Bureau’s highlights are probably the most widely used, and they’re limited to economic strata that favor the better-paid among us. The news media reports tend to reflect this pattern. When a larger United States population is chosen, interviewed, and studied, the traditional ratio gets crumpled and discarded. New research is on the way, and it uses detailed Census Bureau yearly data. It will be accompanied by specific explanations, to clarify the analysis.

        Without trying to list all of the particular reasons for paying womyn so little, three can be recognized right away: One, employers and customers pay womyn less, often because of sexism. Two, fathers avoid sharing childraising responsibilities, often because of sexism. Three, education, social supports, and mentoring for womyn and girls is less available or of lower quality, often because of sexism. And, throughout all of this, much of what looks like nonsexist reason is, at depth, sexist.

        One effect of the disparity is to strangle womyn economically. When men have far more money, they are willing to pay more for necessities, and they are willing to assign necessity to a purchase you might have thought of as a luxury. As a result, firms that sell are able to demand higher prices. Once that happens, womyn, too, have to pay higher prices for necessities. That does not leave much money in female hands. That makes savings and investment difficult or impossible, and maintains dependency on wealthier men for no reason other than gender.

        I am preparing extensive statistics and background and hope to post them here soon. I’m also preparing an analysis of press coverage treating and mistreating the subject nationally in a sample period. If you would like notification of availability, please let me know: Nick Levinson, P.O. Box 8386, New York, N.Y. 10150. It may take me a few months to finish this work, so I may not reply right away. Thank you.


        These organizations may be able to assist you, if you want to do political organizing or workplace organizing or if you want information for a womon you know, and some offer links to still more organizations (although they may still use older figures, since I have not sent them the research in progress) (links to other sites may open in new windows in your browser):

If any link at this site is broken or if its content has changed in a problematic way, please let me know.

        Consider activism: Lobby all of your legislators and your union, regardless of where they stood yesterday. Write letters to the editors of your newspapers (short and personal are best). Organize friends. Make noise.

        Consider legal action: If you have a legal case, contact either a government agency near you that remedies employment discrimination or a private lawyer in your state. Agencies are generally free but slow. Lawyers usually charge but may be willing to be paid a contingency fee from your winnings. A legal case usually takes a long time to resolve. Experienced lawyers specializing in employment rights are usually better than other lawyers, unless they usually represent employers in such cases. You may lose your job once you complain (your boss may invent a reason that makes no sense), but you may qualify for back pay to compensate you for illegal discrimination. Ask in your community for recommended lawyers or government agencies.

        If you work with many people who are being discriminated against, you might want to talk with a union about organizing your workplace. Most womyn want pay equity, and your female colleagues might appreciate what a union can do for economic fairness. You may also want to talk with a lawyer about bringing a class action. Both are difficult to do, but rewarding when successful.

        Wages for housework and for raising children would be a great idea. One law was reportedly passed in May or June, 2002, encouraging husbands to pay wives in the Republic of China, in the province of Taiwan; although reportedly that law is not binding, a journey of a thousand steps begins with one step. In the United States, there was a campaign for such a law years ago. I know of at most one wife whose husband pays her substantially for her home management services, and they have a child; at the time she mentioned it, that income was higher than that of an average womon in the U.S.; but she is the only one I know. Giving a wife a few dollars to pick up groceries is not the same thing. Maybe you could join or start a campaign on this issue. To locate a couple of organizations, try the action links above.

        If doing research interests you, let me know your interests or your questions. For example, I’m interested in finding better international data, comparable to what we have for the U.S.; the size of the underground, illegal, barter, and unpaid economies in the U.S. and other nations divided by gender and other demographics; data on capital gains and on refundable tax credits (federal and not) in the U.S. divided by gender and other demographics; and analyses of legal enforcement problems and counterstrategies. Please contact me: Nick Levinson, P.O. Box 8386, New York, N.Y. 10150. Thank you.

        This is discrimination, it is outrageous, it must stop immediately, and reparations should be paid to all womyn now. The legal system is not that pro-womon at this time, so those who benefit from your economic deprivation will still benefit. We need better laws and practices.

        Meanwhile, however, you have some rights, you may win a pay equity claim, and we can achieve some improvements. The womyn who are discriminated against are the best agents of change. The only way these things will be reformed is when there’s pressure for it. Find allies and look for mutual support, then bring pressure to bear on the powers that be. Best wishes!

                Linguistically, womyn and women are synonyms, as are womon and woman; what differ are their etymologies, and for excellent reason. It’s too rare that we get to improve the core of the language we use.


URL: (formerly & then

Page first publicly posted to the World Wide Web April 10, 2002; last revised December 21, 2004, and posted December 22, 2004.

Revisions: Copyright © 2004 Nick Levinson. All rights reserved.
Balance: Copyright © 2002 & 2003 Nick Levinson. All rights reserved.

Nick Levinson
P.O. Box 8386
New York, N.Y. 10150

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