A Breakdown of Your Mansplaining on Social Media about Gender Pay Equity

In 2015 the World Economic Forum estimated that it would take 118 years for the world’s women to finally gain equal pay. This year things are looking even worse, as the gender wage gap has widened—globally, to a whopping 59 percent—back to where it was in 2008. So, by what year should women expect pay equity? Seems we’re looking at another 170 years, ladies. But not only are women bringing home less, they are working more. The World Economic Forum also reported that women around the world work an average of fifty minutes more per day than men, equating to an extra thirty-nine days per year!

And no, I’m not talking only about nations where violations of civil liberties seem commonplace allowing us to pretend “those things” don’t happen here. I am talking globally, the United States included. The US is in twenty-eighth place on the gender equality list. On the other hand, the United States has closed the education gender gap, with more women earning higher education degrees. Though, I’m not sure if this makes things worse, since this means that while women are now more qualified on paper, they continue to make less. Since 2006, average annual earnings for men have increased by 10K but only 5K for women.

Oh, and before all the men’s rights warriors crawl out from under the macho rocks of ignorance and denial, spare me. Really, we’ve heard it all before. Talking about this topic is not a personal attack on you or your gender. It’s not an attack on anyone. It’s a simple acknowledgement that inequality is unjust, and we aren’t going to turn the other cheek anymore. Please, take a moment to breath, reflect, and let your blood pressure come down a notch. To save you the trouble of formulating a rebuttal, I have taken the liberty of posting some of the regular types of comments we tend to see on articles addressing women’s issues. Like this one:



Dear Mystery Man No. 1,

Thank you for clearing that up for us. Sometimes we women can get confused about what we really want when it comes to family. First, people of the female sex can have babies, yes. Very good. Women want to be primary caregivers? Not all women. How do I know that? Because I am a woman, and I don’t want to be a primary caregiver. So there’s that. I’d like to remind you that not all women choose to be stay-at-home mothers. Some women sacrifice a career to stay at home to balance out the expensive costs of childcare. In many cases, it’s more cost-effective for a parent to stay home than to pay for childcare, and since women usually make less, it’s typically the female parent who forgoes a career to stay. How does a single mother adequately provide for her family if she is not given the same professional and economic opportunities as men? Now that she is both the primary caregiver and the breadwinner, does she still not deserve equal opportunity? Then again, why would that matter? You seem to disagree with the concept of childcare altogether so perhaps, if single mothers can’t work, we should implement universal basic income to provide for these now “decommissioned” women?



Dear Mystery Man No. 2,

Rather than attempt to differentiate between a fact and an opinion for you, I’d like to offer a few short answers to some statements that I took the liberty of interpreting as questions. Men “don’t need time off for birth.” No, they don’t, because they don’t give birth. Women also don’t need much time off for “birth” either as birth doesn’t usually take that long. However, the benefits of men and women taking leave to spend time with their children directly following their birth is demonstrable. Paternity leave is similar to maternity leave, which is what I assume you are referring to when you say “time for birth.”  You mention that women need to become competitors at the same level as men, but you only make mention of physical strength and endurance. Tell me, sir, should we be hiring writers based on how many push-ups they can do?  As you’ve said, it irritates you that women want to be respected in the workplace while also receiving “special privileges.” I’m not sure what you’re referring to—perhaps it’s the maternity leave for “birth”? I think I can speak for many women in saying that we’d gladly support you and men everywhere if you’d like to discover a way for men to give birth.

Anger is often a projection of fear. But another person’s equality doesn’t make you less of a person, and it doesn’t degrade you or make you less relevant. It won’t make you less desirable or less needed by the ones around you. In fact, it would probably make your life a whole lot easier. I mean, yeah, maybe you’d have to be more self-sufficient and a little more responsible. You probably should anyway. So hey, go ahead and give me that security blanket. Don’t worry, I’ll fold it up nicely for you and seal it in an airtight bag where the squirrels can’t get to it when it lives out the rest of its days in your mother’s attic. Stop standing in women’s way and stop complaining about how unfair it is that women want to reap the rewards of what they’ve worked hard to achieve. Men in the early twentieth century displayed similar fears when women got the vote and again during the women’s movement of the 1960s and ’70s—and everyone managed to jump some hurdles there. Waiting 170 years for global pay equality seems like way too long. Guys, isn’t it time to jump again?