Taylor Swift accepted an “Icon” award at the Teen Choice Awards last night, and she used her moment to spread awareness regarding gender pay gaps around the world. The speech provided young girls with a powerful message that their value is worth as much as their male counterparts.
During a momentous moment for Taylor Swift, she used her platform to redirect people’s attention to an important issue affecting women in the workplace. Taylor received an “Icon” award during the Teen Choice Awards which celebrated her years of success in the entertainment industry.
Rather than making the moment about her career, Taylor’s first words were directed toward the U.S. Soccer team and co-captain Alexa Morgan.
“First I want to talk about Alex Morgan,” said Swift. “The fact that she’s here presenting this to me is such an honor. Not only winning the World Cup with her amazing teammates, right? But while they were winning the World Cup, they were also taking a historic stand in terms of gender equality, gender pay gaps. Please, please, please support her and her teammates because this isn’t over yet. It’s not resolved.”
Swift comments are directed around a lawsuit the U.S Women’s Soccer team filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation in March. The women’s team recently won their 4th World Cup in history. However, athletes on the team are paid a fraction of what male athletes receive for winning the cup.
According to court documents, the U.S. Soccer Federation pays male athletes four times more for winning the World Cup. Women make, on average $260,000 for their victory in the World Cup whereas the male team members receive on average $1.1 million for a win. Interestingly to note, the male team has never won the tournament. Additionally, the men’s team-best performance resulted in third place.
Swift went on to encourage people to get online and talk about the discrimination the U.S. Women’s Soccer players experienced by their employer.
“Get online, talk about it, let people know how you feel about it because what happened to them is unfair,” Swift continued. “It’s happening everywhere, and they are heroes and icons for standing up.”
Swift’s encouragement to the youth is necessary and essential to increase the pressure on employers to reduce the wage gaps experienced by women. According to PayScale, women earn $.79 to the dollar that men do for the same work. To put it another way, men make 21% more for the same job as a woman.
The gender pay gap affects women of color more than any other population. Women that are Black, Hispanic, and American Indian make 26% percent than men. Interestingly, women of Asian descent make the most of all women. On average Asian women make only 7% less than men.In terms of women in entertainment, a recent list of the top 100 earners included only 15 women. Taylor Swift and Kylie Jenner hold the top two spots. However, the rest of the list consists of only 13 other women. Additionally, the majority of the men on the list are athletes.
Despite Swift’s position at the top of the list, she has been the target of relentless bullying by male entertainers. A bitter feud with Kanye West years ago forced Taylor Swift to abandon her social media. Last week Kid Rock accused Taylor Swift of sleeping her way to the top to become the top earner.
Women are underrepresented in all avenues of business and politics. According to a 2019 report by Forbes, the top 500 corporations only include 33 CEOs. In the government, women’s numbers are increasing but still dramatically lower than men. Women in the U.S. House of Representatives represent only 23.7% of all the seats. In the Senate, women occupy only 29% of the seats. Also, a woman has never held the two most powerful positions in government as a President or Vice President.
Successful women using their platforms to further conversations around gender pay gaps are incredibly important. Over the past several years, there have been tremendous gains by women in the economic and political world. However, there is still a long way to go.
Kudos to Taylor Swift for using her moment to remind the youth to speak out about injustice and inequality. We need more women in powerful positions to follow suit.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles related to trending topics and crime on her column.
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