Sarah Silverman's Personal Story About the Wage Gap is Pretty Damn Powerful

April 6th 2015

On Monday, comedian Sarah Silverman released a video discussing the wage gap and encouraging women to demand that they be paid what they're worth. The video was part of the Levo League's Ask4More campaign in advance of National Equal Pay Day on April 14.

In the video, Silverman strays from her no-holds-barred comedy and instead opts for a more intimate, confessional setting where she tells a story about her experience with unequal pay. She said that she and a male counterpart were once performing at a New York comedy club, and after the show, she found out that despite having done an identical, 15-minute set, he was paid more than she was.

"He got sixty dollars, and I got ten dollars," Silverman explained. "We did the exact same time back-to-back at the same show."

"It's pretty shitty," the comedian continued.

Last month a report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) released a troubling report, which found that at this rate women will not achieve equal pay until 2058 -- 43 years from now. (This figure was also echoed by Academy Award winning actress Patricia Arquette at the U.N. Women’s Planet 50-50 by 2030 event in March.)

White women earn on average 78 cents to every man's dollar, and that number is even lower for women of color. "Hispanic and Latina women [were] paid only 54 percent of what white men were paid in 2013," the American Association of University Women reports. American Indian and Alaskan native women earned 59 percent of what a white man did in 2013. Black women earned 64 percent, and Asian American women were paid 90 percent of what a white man was paid. (And the wage gap persists even in female-dominated fields such as nursing and public relations.)

This gender wage gap adds up. Over the course of a 40-year career (given that the wage gap remains stagnant) a woman loses a total of $435,049, according to a September 2014 report from the Equal PayBack Project. That's nearly half a million dollars lost. In spite of these figures, Congress has yet to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act would overhaul the Equal Pay Act of 1963. According to The Hill, it "would punish employers for retaliating against workers who share wage information and would allow workers to sue for punitive damages for wage discrimination, among other things."

This is not the first time Silverman has spoken up about equal pay. In October of 2014, the comedian released a hilarious and provocative video about the gender gap, which ATTN: covered here. To help eliminate the gender pay gap before 2058, voters can cast ballots for candidates who support equal pay, and like Silverman said, know you deserve it.

You can register to vote at OurTime.org

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