Two stories this week captured my attention, and not in a positive way.
I am a big fan of the X-Files, and I wondered how well this year’s reboot of the series did in the ratings. I found out that the ratings were nothing short of spectacular, and that Fox is very eager to bring the series back for another season; a big roadblock apparently is Gillian Anderson, who, I come to find out, was offered a fraction of the money that her co-star David Duchovny was making. Apparently Anderson had to fight for some semblance of pay parity—just as she had to do when the series first aired.
I find it hard to believe, in this age, with all the publicity and attention focused on gender inequality, that a major television network would apply practices that have always been unfair, but have been recognized as such since the beginning of Gloria Steinem.
Couple that with the article in this week’s newsletter about the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) finding that there is still significant inequality in the number of women occupying management roles in our industry.
So, in almost 50 years, we are still paying women less, and fewer of them are in key roles.
From purely a business standpoint, these inequities are understandable. A big part of owning and/or operating a successful business—and radio is no different—involves watching our costs carefully; so, in general, we don’t like to pay more than we have to for anything—or anyone. Although we are not supposed to, it is difficult not to factor in an employee’s family situation when making a financial offer. The reasoning goes, a man is more responsible for the financial well-being of his family; a woman, not so much.
There are notable exceptions, of course, but I suspect that the practices of paying women less and promoting them less to management positions are still common in our industry. Accordingly, I call on each and every one of us to do a little soul-searching about this and, if these comments apply, to make a plan that over time will result in true gender equality.
By the way, I’m looking for an assistant right now; anybody know of a gal who’ll work cheap?