Would you be OK if professors in college set the bell curve for men to get an A and women to get a C? Or would this totally outrage you?
(If you said yes to the second, then you are my people and please continue on dear friend. To those that said yes to the first, I hope you keep reading and I also hope... I probably should stop there.)
Y'all this is happening every single day and in every single state-- on average women get paid 79% (a C average) of what men make!
What??!!! How is this possible? Is this really still happening?! Yes, yes it is.
I would've assumed we were way past this. Y'all we are so not way past this. Women actually make that much less than men. That means if a man makes $50,000/year a woman makes $39,500/year for doing the EXACT SAME job (absolutely no difference in job requirements or results).
That is insane.
This isn't a political or feminist movement post.
Lately my eyes glaze over on political posts because it's election season and I'm pretty sure we are all so over this election already (when we aren't freaking out over the options before us). Political posts are heavily skewed towards whatever is that writer's opinion. This isn't skewed.
Chris, when we discuss budgets (ugh and blah), he always says to me, "Becky these are facts and stats, they aren't things you can talk relatively about. Facts and stats are real." I always roll my eyes, laugh and then give in because he is right. You can't argue facts.
So let's not argue facts or stats. Let's acknowledge and consider ourselves informed:
On average women make 79% what men make.
This should outrage you a little, actually it should outrage you a lot.
I'm going to take it one step further-- I would guess (which means I have zero research to back this one up, sorry honey for my lack of stats and facts) that:
The average pay gap for women in ministry is significantly worse.
I know in ministry we aren't supposed to care about money-- it's the cause that matters: it's all for Jesus and others. I know there are way bigger things going on in our world right now like orphans and refugees and widows and hunger and disease. So we don't argue about the gross contrast of salaries for women and men in ministry.
This isn't a complementarian v. egalitarian debate. This is a women's value discussion. So don't check out on me or get your argument points ready if those are words you are passionate about. Let's not get distracted.
Why is this? Why does the church, of all places, feel like it can be one of the most oppressive places for women and their careers?
I know this isn't happening at all churches. I love the Church, the body of Christ; and I love the places we gather, our churches. I know not every church does this. I know most that do this probably don't realize it. This isn't a church bashing post. This is an church informing post. We have got to be aware and we have got to change this. Churches should be leaders for our communities not just how we serve outside our walls, but how we serve those within our walls.
I've been on staff at a couple of churches, volunteered regularly at every church I've gone to, and been a part of many women's ministry events at countless other churches. We need people-- men and women-- to serve more. If more people served, the church could give so much more away (if that is your church's aim). I'm not saying we should get paid for leading a class, feeding the homeless, planning an event or serving in the kids ministry.
Why are women speakers expected to do so for free or with a way lower charge than men? I have spoken at so many women's events at no charge because I knew there was zero budget to pay me. I did so gladly and willingly and would do it all over again (like many men do as well). Like I said before: getting paid is not my motivation. However, why is the church willing to pay more for men to come to the pulpit to guest preach then for women? Or for a men's event speaker than a women's event speaker? I don't get it. And we will save the discussion on why men make up for most of the speakers for mixed gender Christian events and conferences.
Or what about women who work as many hours for their church volunteering as the men on staff who take home a salary? Why are women expected to volunteer so much of their time but men are not? (Don't even get me started on why only women can volunteer in the kids ministry.)
Or worse those women that actually are able to get a job at a church that's paid (wahoo! all dreams come true!) only to realize they have hit the glass ceiling-- both in position and pay-- and they are on the lowest level.
In addition, why do we have to apologize or feel guilty when we actually do get paid in ministry?
I do a lot of work with women's ministry. Most of what I do is unpaid. Hear me, I'm happy to do it. My heart is women growing in the Lord, I'm not in this to get rich. Even so, I can't even tell you how many people question why I charge $20 for the Bible studies I release with Sacred Holidays. Or why I only give 20% of our profits away instead of all of the profits. The expectation is that I shouldn't be able to be profitable because I'm writing Bible studies and speaking at churches.
Does this seem off to anyone else? I would never ever question my entrepreneur friends, who have jobs that aren't ministry based, for taking a paycheck. Ever.
I desperately hope this doesn't come across as venting because this isn't some rant. I just am tired of it for women. I'm tired of hearing friend after friend in ministry, who happen to be women, struggle because they are stuck and making nothing. I'm grateful that my male counterparts are making a fair salary. I get that their salary could be higher if they went corporate, so they sacrifice there. But women, they shouldn't sacrifice because they are women-- corporate or ministry. They shouldn't have to work 40-60 hours a week and still struggle to get all the bills paid. Or worse, women who long to do ministry but can't because they don't have a husband to support them. Is this 1950? This is insane.
So what is the solution? I'm not sure. I know I'm so helpful! Ha!
Information is good, but it is just a start. With the world wide web we have become a very informed society with a lot of opinions. We must do more than just be informed.
Ask. Ask your church how well they pay their people... at all levels. Encourage the financial committee, pastor, or human resources to make adjustments to bring about equality. Don't believe that this is true? Ask the people on staff. As the women's pastor or girls minister, if your church even has those how much they make? If your church doesn't have those, look at how many men are own staff and then look at how many women are volunteering. Reflect on that.
For other women on staff at a church or in ministry:
You friend are a warrior. I know that stress and strain each and every two weeks until that next check comes and then so quickly evaporates just covering the bills. Your work in noble. You are making a real difference. Can I also tell you that you are worth so much. It's OK to ask for more. It's OK to show them what you are worth. Don't sit back "humbly" waiting for God to move. He will and can move. But, dear friend, so should you. The Lord parted the Red Sea, but Moses raised his rod and crossed over. You have a whole tribe behind you.
That was heavy. If you want a good laugh watch this (after 2:00 it's just kinda silly, but the first bit is hilarious):