On average, women make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. This number is less for women of color, disabled women, and mothers. In The UMC, women pastors made 8.2% less than male clergy in 2020. They are more often appointed to junior roles and smaller churches. The Southeastern Jurisdiction has the lowest number of female clergy in the U.S.
Ashley Harzog, Director of the Office of Women and Gender and Associate Director of Intercultural Affairs at East Carolina University, led this breakout session.
In addition to the wage gap, women also experience a funding gap and a mortgage gap. Women and minorities received 1% of venture capital funds in 2017 despite the fact that businesses with a woman co-founder outperform other business investments by 63%. Even though single women have higher credit scores and are less likely to default on their mortgages than single men, they pay on average $15,000 more for a mortgage.
COVID has highlighted additional gender pay gaps. Every year, intimate partner violence victims lose eight million days of paid work. In the U.S., sexual violence results in more than $122,000 in costs per survivor. COVID has caused intimate partner violence to rise and decreased access to care.
COVID has also highlighted ways that changes in how we work can benefit women, families, and employers. With a more flexible work week, productivity soared during COVID. We discovered that a 32-hour work week is just as productive as a 40-hour work week. The 40-hour work week was designed 100 years ago for single-earner households. Women and men have equally participated in the workforce since the 1970s, but mothers are still three times more likely to be responsible for household labor in dual-earner households. The U.S. is one of only seven countries worldwide that does not mandate paid parental leave.
Harzog concluded the session with suggestions for action. She pointed out that we are often told to make personal changes, such as forgoing a latte, but we cannot budget our way out of systemic injustice. Here’s what we can do:
- Talk about and research salary. The good news is that we are doing this in the UMC. Data is available. Just remember that not talking about salary only benefits the employer.
- Universal design of family and parental leave. Advocate for leave for both parents to avoid bias in hiring.
- Childcare reform. Families need to have access to affordable childcare.
- Reauthorize VAWA. The Violence Against Women Act remains stalled in Congress. Show your support for its passing.
- Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence Leave. Instituting 2-3 days of paid leave would reduce the financial vulnerability of victims.
- Use your influence. Your influence is a magnifier. Use it to empower others financially and interpersonally. Where you spend your money matters.
- Take a nap and sleep. We’re not going to hustle our way out of these systemic discrepancies, but strategic moves can make a difference.