Justice

These Kids' Reactions to Getting Paid Differently Are Hilariously Heartbreaking

"The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" web series star Issa Rae and advocacy group Make It Work just teamed up to produce a skit explaining the gender pay gap to a group of children.

Starring Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose and "Revenge" actor Gabriel Mann, the video illustrates how the pay gap affects all females but is even worse for minority women.

The clip opens with a white little boy, a Hispanic girl, Black girl, and white girl behind a lemonade stand, which sells a cup of lemonade for $1 each.

Make It Work and Issa Rae's equal pay video

Mann approaches the stand to purchase a cup of lemonade for himself. He gives the little boy a dollar. In walks Rose, and both she and Mann buy lemonade from the little girls. But here's the thing, none of the girls receive a dollar for the lemonade.

The white little girl says she only received 78 cents for the lemonade while the Black girl received 65 cents and the Hispanic girl received 54 cents. This is consistent with the statistic that white women earn around 77 cents to every dollar that men make. Earlier this year, the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) published a report that found Hispanic and Black women fare even worse on the pay gap spectrum, with Hispanic women earning just a little more than 50 percent as much as the average white man.

Make It Work and Issa Rae's equal pay video

Make It Work and Issa Rae's equal pay video

This reality doesn't sit well with the kids, but Rose and Mann continue laughing uncomfortably about the pay gap, with Rose pointing out that it's impolite to talk about money.

"But why does [the boy] get one dollar, and I only get 65 cents?" the Black girl says.

"Oh, it's simple," Rose responds. "Because we value him more than we value you."

When the blonde little girl says all of this is unfair, Mann does some good old victim blaming and says it's her fault for not asking for a full dollar in the first place. This bothers the little boy, much to the surprise of Rose and Mann, who can't believe that this boy is worried about something that isn't his problem.

"They just need to sell a little more lemonade so they can 'have it all,'" Mann says using air quotes.

The video concludes with the kids pointing out that Mann probably earns more than Rose even though they have the same job. Rose becomes upset and Mann flees the scene.

The larger issue of the pay gap.

Rae's video might seem like a cute way of explaining the pay gap to young ones, but the pay gap itself is anything but cute. The 2015 pay gap means white women will lose $11,000, Black women will lose $22,000, and Hispanic women will lose $25,000 per year, according to Make it Work.

“We wanted to involve kids because kids tend to see the world as-is and to call people out in a way grownups don’t because we become desensitized to things,” Rae told Essence, noting that she hopes her art can inspire people with power to enact change. “I’m one of those people who feel kind of helpless in some instances. Since I’m an artist by heart, I try to make my work reflect the problems, so smarter people can do something about it.”

The pay gap impacts women of all backgrounds and in all industries. Even Jennifer Lawrence, the highest paid actress in Hollywood, confronted the pay gap in a recent essay for Jenni Konner and Lena Dunham's newsletter, Lenny. In her piece, Lawrence acknowledged that her particular issues aren't relatable to most women, but she said that she's faced challenges getting what she deserves as a result of worrying about likability in a professional setting. Lawrence is not alone: Research reveals women don't negotiate for this very reason and also because it can hurt a woman's professional prospects.

"I'm over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion and still be likable!" she writes. "Fuck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard."

Earlier this year, California passed one of the strictest laws aimed at reducing the wage gap. The bill places the onus on employers—not employees—to prove that gaps in wages are not due to gender but rather due to merit or seniority. Shifting the burden from the employee to the employer means that women are more protected if they come forward with pay discrepancies, NPR reports.

"Sixty-six years after passage of the California Equal Pay Act, many women still earn less money than men doing the same or similar work," Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said in early October. "This bill is another step toward closing the persistent wage gap between men and women."

Those in support of closing the wage gap often call for salary transparency at the office, as the wage gap tends to shrink with unionization and/or when companies are open about what they pay employees. (Fusion's Katie McDonough explains how to talk about salary with your co-workers.)

For more on the pay gap, watch ATTN:'s video about it:

 
What You Lose To the Wage Gap...

What You Lose To the Wage Gap...

Posted by ATTN: on Wednesday, March 25, 2015