According to the Oxford Reference Dictionary, gender inequality is “the social process by which people are treated differently and disadvantageously, under similar circumstances, on the basis of gender.” The gender wage gap is defined as “the difference between median earnings of men and women relative to median earnings of men.” As of March 2017, in the United States, a woman earns $0.79 for every $1.00 a man makes. A woman’s annual earnings are, on average, $10,800 less than a man’s (Business Insider). This is all 54 years after the United States passed the Equal Pay Act.
Now that I have bombarded you with facts and numbers… What do they mean? And why should we, as women, care? Well, for starters, a man of the same age as you, with the same education and experience, performing the same job, could make $0.21 more than you, because he is a man. There is a bias that is evident here. Even if we try to deny it, society is trained to believe men are stronger, in all areas, including professionally. I won’t deny it. As I was researching for this post, I was surprised women earned only $10,800 (annually) less than men. How sad is that? I expected women were paid much less than men. I underestimated my own gender.
In recent years the gender pay gap has been thrust into the spot light by celebrities. Jennifer Lawrence has brought much focus to the inequality, as have other leading actresses. Two weeks ago, Catt Sadler, an E! News co-host, announced she would be leaving the company after twelve years. Sadler revealed her counterpart at the company, Jason Kennedy, was making almost two times as much money. Kennedy’s annual salary was revealed to be $1-1.2 million, while Sadler’s came in around $600,000. Sadler joined E! in 2006 and went on to host “The Daily 10,” “E! News,” “Live from E!,” and “Daily Pop.” Kennedy started in 2005 as host of “The Daily 10” and currently hosts “E! News” and “Live from E!” A source says the pay gap has nothing to do with gender, but seniority and ranking. Yes, I too realize that Jason is only 1 year Catt’s senior at E! News, so I would take it the “seniority” reasoning is bogus.
After announcing the true reason for leaving, on her blog, Sadler urged fans not to blame Kennedy. Stating that Kennedy had “done right by her” and was a “true friend” she instructed people to direct their anger at “the real decision maker who failed us.”
Every story needs a villain, right? While Lauren Scruggs, Kennedy’s wife, did not start as the villain of this story, she has created her own in which I personally, believe she is in the wrong. On the same day Sadler took to her blog and social media to thank fans for support and defend Kennedy, Scruggs also took to her own blog to defend her husband. Side note: are you really a B-List celebrity if you don’t have a blog?
Stating that there are “two sides to every story” (sorry Lauren, the new saying is there are three) Scruggs proceeded to strongly defend her husband, when he did not need defending. From what I have seen, many people (whose opinions will be heard, not just the internet trolls) are not taking aim at Jason, but at E! News as a whole. So, again, creating your own story here Lauren. Anyway… Scruggs defended Jason, stating the whole “seniority and ranking” and “Jason is a permanent co-host, Catt isn’t.” Blah, blah, blah. Poor hollywood darling and her hollywood husband. Scruggs also said she wanted people to know the truth. Shoutout to this girl for basically denying gender inequality in one blog post, for a man. Scruggs claimed that because Jason was a permanent co-host he was making more money; that there had never been another permanent host named in 6 months, and he had different co-hosts most of the time (I’m willing to bet real money that said co-host was Sadler at least 75% of the time). She also claimed that (even though this isn’t gender inequality, right Lauren?) Kennedy had been paid less than his previous female counterparts. But, remember, no gender pay gap here…
In my response to Scruggs’ Instagram post about this topic (for which I received 46 likes thank you very much) I said,
“I completely appreciate and applaud you standing up for your husband. However, this story is not about him, it is not about you, it is not about E! News. This is something much bigger. Catt did not bring this to the public’s attention for pity, or to tear Jason down, she did it to bring the truth, and be there for countless women experiencing the same thing. So while you defend your husband, maybe you should also appreciate that you aren’t in one of those women’s positions.”
I have to say, I was especially proud of my last sentence. I stand by everything I said in that comment, which apparently rang true for many other women. This situation is so much bigger than Catt and E! News (and now Jason and Lauren). This is happening on every level. In every woman’s world. Catt going public is helping people.
I also stand by the beginning of my statement. I applaud Lauren for supporting her husband. But, I think she could have done so without minimizing what Catt, and so many other women, has experienced. I think it is very easy for someone who has not experienced gender inequality, to throw stones and get defensive. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is rude people are placing blame on Jason. But, I think I’d rather deal with some internet trolls that mean nothing to me and make a fair wage, than make half of what I deserve.
As the 46 likes of my comment show (I’ll never get over that), I am not Catt’s only supporter. But, there are some supporters with bigger platforms than me speaking out. I actually learned of the whole situation from another reality tv star I follow, Meghan King Edmonds. Edmonds is a Real Housewife on E!’s sister network, Bravo. Edmonds stated she was “disgusted” and “outraged” to learn of the pay gap, and applauded Sadler for going public. Other celebrities such as Billie Jean King (who also experienced the pay gap herself years ago), Jessica Chastain, and Olivia Munn announced their support of Sadler. Maria Menunos, former host at E!, praised Sadler by tweeting “I know this wasn’t easy… good for you!” If another former, female host from the same network giving support doesn’t tell the story, I’m not sure what does.
The point of this post isn’t to demean Lauren Scruggs and her position and stance in defending her husband. As I said, I appreciate that, and expect it. However, her statement (linked below), belittled and judged what Sadler was coming forward with. I understand wanting others to like your husband, and respect him. But in this day in age, getting equality for all genders, races, ages, etc. is a little more important than liking every tv show host and celebrity.
Scruggs started her blog post by saying there are “negatives and positives to social media.” I apologize if this is a negative for you, Lauren. But, I’ll leave you all with this: if women aren’t going to support each other in this battle, and countless others, how can we expect to win, let alone be heard?