GALs bake sale falls short

GALs bake sale falls short

Michelle Wei, Blogger

Two weeks ago, when GALS announced their bake sale for the Equal Payday, a day to bring attention to unequal pay between men and women, I was initially impressed and happy at the idea of it. Making men pay $1 and women $0.77 for a baked good to underline the difference in earnings between genders is immensely uncomfortable, and that discomfort is what makes the move so bold; it’s memorable and sparks conversation. For that, I applaud them for welcoming such a controversial and audacious decision.

Yet, GALS could’ve been more careful in the way it was broadcasted in front of the entire school during morning meeting. Along with their bake sale, GALS announced a statistic of the average wage gap difference of all women, that the average woman will make 77 cents to her male counterpart’s dollar. While $0.23 is the average difference of the wage gap, the gap differs exceedingly for different women of color, trans women, non-binary women, and disabled women. The statistic did not provide listeners with an idea of just how startling the differences can be. This is especially true in terms of racial disparity. Latinas make $0.62 to the white man’s dollar, black women make $0.67, white women earn $0.81, and Asian women make $0.93 (Institute for Women’s Policy Research).  

If GALS wants to just talk about the average for all women, that’s okay. However, when they admitted that they were trying to be Masters’ “intersectional feminist club” and include all women, they opened themselves up to criticism on accounts of intersectionality, or lack thereof.

Focusing on one issue does not mean neglecting the others, but the idea of averaging the wage gap difference generalizes the actual wage gap. While GALS did have a sign detailing these disparities at the bake sale, only those who attended were able to further discuss the racial disparity and intersectionality of the issue.

By not taking the time to thoroughly explain the wage gap during Morning Meeting, including the factors causing it, and the intersectionality of the issue, those who aren’t engaged to discuss and educate in the first place did not take much from it. That time was crucial to publicize information to both those who wanted to hear it and those who needed to hear it. Giving a short and generalized announcement was a well-intended attempt to attract a crowd to their bake sale and to the issue. However, the lack of information only attracted people who were already willing to support the cause in the first place. 

While I acknowledge that Morning Meeting has limited time and that GALS took preliminary steps to prepare for this event, one can’t be expected to use their lunch time going to the bake sale or attending the GALs public forum to understand the intentions– what is announced at Morning Meeting is public information and is what people will form their opinions off of.

Intersectionality is important to understand how different identities can affect one’s experience of being a woman differently. The goal of feminism is to fight for quality, but women can’t be equal to men until they’re equal to each other. The disparity within feminism is perpetuated by factors like race, religion, ability, gender identity, and sexuality. When one’s goal is to further women but doesn’t focus on inequality within women, it’s half-baked.