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Equal Pay for Equal Work: Not Happening, Ladies. Now, Go Buy Some Beauty Products.

Nine to Five - What a Way to Make a Living

Nine to Five - What a Way to Make a Living

Being home sick is not all bad. Yesterday I was able to watch the end of one of my favorite movies from the 80’s, “Nine to Five“, starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton and the deliciously villainous Dabney Coleman as their “sexist egotistical lying hypocritical bigot” of a boss.

The ladies in question all want one thing from Mr. Coleman: Respect. And they ain’t getting it. Lily Tomlin, the always-passed-over power behind the throne, finally loses it when the boss refuses yet again to give her a promised and much-deserved promotion – awarding it, of course, to the young man she trained instead. She, Fonda and Parton have a commiseration party, where they get stoned and fantasize about taking revenge on Coleman. Tomlin’s fantasy is about poisoning Coleman’s coffee. When she gets to work the next day, she finds to her horror that she has actually done so by mistake. Tomlin, Fonda and Parton then go through endless, hilarious machinations to prevent anyone from knowing that Tomlin is an attempted murderess, including kidnapping Coleman and holding him prisoner in his own house for six weeks.

During those six weeks, the ladies completely revolutionize the company that Coleman was running in such a sexist and inhuman manner. Parton can sign Coleman’s name better than he can, and they keep sending out memos from “the boss” instating female-friendly improvements, including a new day care center, a job-sharing program that allows working mothers to work part-time, and equal pay for equal work.

Coleman ends up escaping his confinement, and shows up at the firm determined to change everything back to the way it was before, and to send the women to jail for attempted murder and kidnapping. Just as he is about to call the police, the owner of the company (Mr. Tinsdale) personally shows up to commend him for increasing productivity over 20% in that short six-week period. He is delighted about absolutely everything the women have done – open to every change, except one. Holding a baby in his arms, Tinsdale remarks to Coleman under his breath, “That equal pay thing, son – that’s gotta go.” At the end of the movie, the women never solve this problem, although the script is optimistic that they will.

Alas, twenty-nine years later, nothing has changed. Mr. Tinsdale is still in charge, and he’s not even remotely as open-minded as he was in “Nine to Five.” Employers are not required to do much of anything to take care of their employees these days, and women are still paid an average of 78 cents to every man’s dollar. This disparity partially explains why the United States has fallen to 15 on the Human Development Index. (Notice that Iceland is number one – yes, the country that has just appointed an openly lesbian woman as its interim Prime Minister. Huh.)

The Human Development Index is described thusly:

Human Development is a development paradigm that is about much more than the rise or fall of national incomes. It is about creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accord with their needs and interests. People are the real wealth of nations. Development is thus about expanding the choices people have to lead lives that they value. And it is thus about much more than economic growth, which is only a means —if a very important one —of enlarging people’s choices.

Fundamental to enlarging these choices is building human capabilities —the range of things that people can do or be in life. The most basic capabilities for human development are to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable, to have access to the resources needed for a decent standard of living and to be able to participate in the life of the community. Without these, many choices are simply not available, and many opportunities in life remain inaccessible.

In seeking that something else, human development shares a common vision with human rights. The goal is human freedom. And in pursuing capabilities and realizing rights, this freedom is vital. People must be free to exercise their choices and to participate in decision-making that affects their lives. Human development and human rights are mutually reinforcing, helping to secure the well-being and dignity of all people, building self-respect and the respect of others.

A country that refuses to acknowledge women as equal citizens in its Constitution; that allows women who run for office to be treated in the most abusive and shameful manner; that still does not force its employers to pay women equally for doing the same job as a man; that is a country that does not fully support human development. That is a country that still denigrates the accomplishments of Hillary Clinton as “serving tea to diplomats,” then hardly blinks an eye as she is appointed Secretary of State because of those accomplishments. This is a country where the election of a black male President was hailed as the end of racism and the dream of every African-American, but the possible election of a female President was not hailed as the end of sexism and the dream of every female American – because as we all know, sexism doesn’t even exist in America!

That’s where we are, men and women who believe in social justice.

So, ladies, don’t trouble your silly little heads about such things. Go contribute to the economic recovery by buying diet products you don’t need, injecting your face with poison in an impossible quest to look younger, investing in the latest eye cream, getting plastic surgery to enhance your breasts and reduce your cellulite. But don’t expect that paycheck to go as far as a man’s.

That would be un-American.

82 Responses

  1. […] at The Confluence Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Human poverty Index in Bangladesh in UN report […]

  2. Who needs equal pay or respect when we got the most feministest guy in power? I am having a MS moment here, don’t disturb me…

  3. 9-5 was a great movie.

  4. That’s right, Obie is the sooperman for all wimmen.

  5. EOF – Need to borrow my Head O’ State?


  6. Great post, madamab.
    I guess I’ll never understand why the possible election of the first woman President was not seen as historic and exciting as the first black President. The last election cycle was so painful and I think put paid to the dream of a woman President in my lifetime.
    I love Nine to Five. I used a clip from it in a speech class to show younger women while New Wave Feminisim was and is so important. They found it very eye opening.

  7. You know if providing equal pay is such a hardship on employers then maybe we should tell them fine, but it’s our turn to make more money. Let the men get 75 cents on our dollar for a while. If they can’t handle paying the sexes equally then at least let us take turns with who gets paid more.

  8. TRK – did you see how Obama knew all about Jessica Simpson’s “fat problem” and commented on it to a reporter?

    That’s some awesome feminism right there.


  9. SweetSue – Two Words: The Patriarchy.

    Thousands of years of power will not be given away so easily.

    Gxm17 – LOL!

  10. mad please dont make me click! Obama talked about Jessica Simpson??

  11. madama

    speaking of equal rights and all..
    did TNA make Violet take down her letter to NOW?

  12. Catarina – don’t worry – it’s Garychapelhill’s blog. Click away and give him some hits!

  13. Mad: You are kidding. The president remarked on Jessica Simpson’s rise from a size two to a size four? Well, isn’t that sweet. Bless his heart, wonder if he is aware that some of us regular joes are on a diet because we don’t have a F#@King job.

  14. Sweetsue,

    Because blacks felt they have suffered more. You owned it to blacks for what your ancestors did to us. Obama is the Prize.

  15. who do you suppose told him about Jessica’s “weight battle”?
    Cuz that’s not what the prezident is supposed to be focusing on..

  16. TheRealKim, on February 4th, 2009 at 11:26 am Said:
    Mad: You are kidding. The president remarked on Jessica Simpson’s rise from a size two to a size four? Well, isn’t that sweet. Bless his heart, wonder if he is aware that some of us regular joes are on a diet because we don’t have a F#@King job.

    TRK, you are inimitable!

  17. catarina – I don’t know. Was it published at TNA?

    I know she usually saves her more incendiary stuff for her own blog, The Reclusive Leftist. That is her own policy and choice.

  18. hi afrocity! Did you see Cinie’s piece last night? I read but didn’t comment. What did you think?

    I’m sick as a dog. Stupid sinus infection. Wish I could be with you all tonight…

  19. Oh, I commented on Cinie’s piece. Regency said I posted the perfect analogy of Obama as “the prize”.

    Eyes on The Prize

  20. AFrocity – If I were you, I’d get my money back.


  21. Breaking News: Hybrid Car blows up with doctor in it. FBI says the car malfunctioned.

  22. madamab, on February 4th, 2009 at 11:29 am Said:
    catarina – I don’t know. Was it published at TNA?

    I know she usually saves her more incendiary stuff for her own blog, The Reclusive Leftist. That is her own policy and choice.

    There is a post on RL about her having to take down the post (from RL). No specifics.
    Was hoping you had some info.

    Sorry you’re sick 😦

  23. Cat: It’s that suthe’n thang. People are losing their homes, savings, jobs and we have a president who discusses the size of a celebrity’s ass.

    First, there was Bush, who didn’t read at all, now we have Obie who reads TMZ.

  24. Lol Madamab, I didn’t vote for the prize. I am a sell out and in exile from blacks (and four other groups that involve my color/genitalia) 🙂

  25. cat — not TNA — on RL Violet Socks post “Where’s Your Superman Now?” to MS magazine has been taking down — she says by the “Ministry of Truth” & that she is looking into it. I think it means the owner of the blog site she uses but I don’t know .

  26. madamab…..thanks for another great, spot-on piece!!
    Wouldn’t it be great if you were wrong? lol

    Hope you don’t mind, but I am posting it on saywhatyouwill….hell, gonna do it, even if you do mind :)~

    Feel better!!

  27. Nice “FEMINIST” piece of work you writ, madamab!


    This is what Feminist writing looks like…….!


    gee, maybe that link place ought to rethink…?

  28. Catarina – Wow. I have been out of it!

    I am sure she means TNA. But, I just blog for them once a week – I am not in on their decision-making. I wonder what happened?

    Afrocity – LOL! But-but-but, I thought every AA in America was dreaming of Barack Obama. Oprah told me so!


  29. Oh, give me a break.

    Mainstream Media:

    “Obama is all the better for admitting that he mad a mistake. It shows that he is human and just like the rest of us. It has raised his credibility and now he is so much better than Bush who never admitted to his mistakes. You know Tom Daschle was not forthcoming with Obama.”

    Tom just got tossed under the bus.

    Meanwhile Obama stands there in a press conference with Tim Geither who did not pay taxes, yet they are speaking against corporate bonuses.

  30. oh yeah
    look how “human” Obama is..he even talks about jessica simpson’s fat!
    just a down to earth kinda guy

  31. I haven’t seen 9-5 in a long time, but I thought it was Dolly Parton (the secretary) who could sign the bosses name perfectly. 🙂

  32. angienc2 – OMG, I think you’re right! D’oh!!

  33. Hello from London, a nice article from the Telegraph on Obami’s ethics…..

    Same old fudges and loopholes in Obama’s new era of ethics


  34. Just saw the movie “Towel Head”

    I am so angry now.

  35. Edited, angie!

    Afrocity – what is it about?

  36. “Towelhead tells the coming-of-age story of a young Lebanese American girl named Jasira (Summer Bishil). When her mother’s live-in boyfriend becomes sexually interested in her, Jasira is sent from her mothers home in Syracuse, New York to live with her old-fashioned and domineering Lebanese-Christian father (Peter Macdissi) in Houston, Texas. Thirteen-year-old Jasira begins to have sexual feelings and at the same time must cope with the new men in her life who are sexually interested in her – her married next-door neighbor (Aaron Eckhart) and a class-mate of her own age.”

  37. Hi-I don’t know if someone else has posted this, but I saw the link at Pumapac and thought someone here might be interested:

    The almost equal gender balance of AMs in the Welsh assembly has transformed how politics in Wales is conducted, according to a new report.

    The study showed there were more female voices at the assembly than at Westminster and in many Welsh councils.

    Political debates were more consensual than adversarial as a result and had ‘non-traditional’ topics on the agenda such as domestic violence.

    Since May 2007, 47% of AMs are women. At Westminster 19.5% of MPs are women.


  38. Hey, everyone – visit TheReclusiveLeftist now.

    Dr. Socks was just having some fun.


  39. Afrocity – Jaysus.

    Old-time religion and women just don’t mix. Christianity and Islam need widespready reform movements, in a big way.

  40. madamab
    i dont think Violet is joking..

  41. afrocity, on February 4th, 2009 at 11:35 am Said:
    Breaking News: Hybrid Car blows up with doctor in it. FBI says the car malfunctioned
    YIKES!!! 😯

  42. from cnn:
    Obama reveals executive pay limits
    Pledging to take “the air out of golden parachutes,” President Obama announced today that executives of companies receiving federal bailout money will have their pay capped at $500,000. “For top executives to award themselves these kinds of compensation packages in the midst of this economic crisis isn’t just bad taste — it’s a bad strategy — and I will not tolerate it,” Obama said

    I propose a cap at 250, ok fine, 300K..
    and the ones who suck get fired

  43. Madamab – This was not only right on the money but almost as entertaining as the money itself – I love that movie – funny, and really quite informative as SweetSue points out.

    ERA today

  44. mad, that is no joke.
    did you read the comments?
    someone pressured her into taking the original down-she had reposted and is fighting back.
    wish i knew wtf was going on.

  45. oops “movie itself” not “money itself” – hmmm, was that a Freudian slip?

  46. catarina – Heh. Loopholes and backdoors are everywhere in that statement.

    Meanwhile, I think that no executive should ever get more than 20x the pay of the company’s lowest paid worker. Yes, I want the government to regulate business that much. So sue me.

  47. catarina – She told me herself that it was a joke.


  48. catarina – She told me herself that it was a joke.

    now THAT is witchy! why would she do that??

    Violet if you’re lurking not f-ing funny!

  49. I told her she gave some people a heart attack!


  50. mad
    maybe she doesn’t know that some people were actually bullied that way-ahem!

  51. I posted a job for an archivist and I get two resumes.
    Must not be a recession after all.

  52. Afrocity – Ummmm….does that mean what I think it means?

  53. Loved 9 to 5. They don’t make movies like that anymore. Oh yeah that’s because women, 52% of the population, are a “niche” group to Hollywood and we only want movies about makeovers, strippers, weddings and lingerie.

  54. i commented before about the equal pay problem. If we could get companies to use the railroad pay model it would solve a lot of problems. The pay rate is based on the job and the job is awarded by seniority not gender. In the management positions the is a higher and lower span of pay based on experience. It is not a perfect plan but it is a beginning.
    How you get this started I do not know, but it is an idea.
    I think we are sisters I am having sinus problems also.
    I hope you feel better.




    I love 9-5 – and your point makes it even more pressing to push for the PayCheck Fairness Act.

    Ledbetter isn’t good enough.

  56. Oh, no Madamab!!!! I was awarded a grant for $500,000 that allows me to hire two new archivists.

  57. Feel better too, HelenK!

    I am sitting on the couch with a box of Kleenex and a plastic bag, snurfling pitiably.

    Good thing is, I get to be here – and eat a lot of soup.


  58. Oh! OK Afrocity. 🙂 Carry on then.

    Thanks SM77! Good to see you!

  59. Madamab,

    Which is another thing about the DC issue.
    I left NYC to come to Chicago because NYC art club bureaucrats on Park Ave. were not allowing me to help people.
    From Chicago I have created jobs and helped people. That may be more important than my salary.

  60. Hire me Afrocity! I know how to, like archive …uh, stuff!


  61. MadamaB & HelenK:

    (((Sending you Florida Sunshine & Vitamin C)))

  62. thanks SM!


  63. SM!

    Move to Chicago?

  64. MadamaB:

    I got a smart ass-ed post coming up – let me know when you want me to post it.

  65. ACK!!! Chicago! COLD. SNOW. ICE. NO OCEAN.

    Beggars can’t be choosers, but I can’t move now anyways. I’d like PUMA cub to finish elementary (4.5 more months to go) plus $ flow is low.

  66. New post up from Anglachel-saying just what Confluence has been saying:


    Cat-really sorry to hear about your hip….

  67. Afrocity – (((hugs))) thank you for the offer!

    A job like “archivist” a super specialist in “archiving” kind of like a curator of sorts, is that right?

  68. anytime, SM! go for it!

  69. MadamaB: I hope this one’ll make you laugh. Let’s just say the pictures will speak for themselves.

  70. Thank you SM.
    The pkg should arrive by the end of the week. The surprise for puma cub came from Okla and now is on the endangered list. I got it from someone who used to live there and it is many years old. There is a museum and a web link where puma cub can find out the story of the Cherokee rose. I hope puma cub will be interested.



  71. Yep SM.

    It is a profession that is a best kept secret.

    Laura Bush has 1 million grant to create more us who are women!!!!

  72. helenK:

    I JUST GOT IT – THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Will email you!!!

  73. Ok – new post up – look at how Barry is LOVING his new job…

  74. Afrocity send me the job description, I know some folks who could be qualified and may be willing to make the move – send to jcd85atverizon.net

    It’s back up at RL

  75. Afrocity, I am in the Chicago area and would be interested in speaking with you about your job opportunities. How do I reach you?

  76. Joanelle I sent you the JD


    I am

    abzug11 at gmail

  77. Thanks, afrocity. Will send you some information later today. Appreciate it.

  78. madamab — “9 to 5” excellent funny movie. Maybe us PUMAs should have consciousness raising meetings again and watch that movie, then discuss. 😉

    The thing that gets me is this — women spend way more than men on daily maintenance of themselves, in addition to the big ticket items, like car payments, mortgages, etc. At least, that is my complaint to hubby of why I don’t have more money to spend; us menstruating women spend at least $30 a bucks just for hygiene related items, and the need for “fat day clothes”. If women were paid more, some would spend even more on that maintenance, and I’m not just talking beauty here, but then when you add in the beauty factor. Why don’t they realize this argument for the Fair Paycheck Act: give women = pay who already spend so much as it is, give them more money, they’ll spend more

    Sorry, if it seems I’m going on stereotypes here, but as both a stylish woman and a feminist, I seem to have almost double the costs of any man. So it just seems to make more economic sense this way.

  79. catarina, on February 4th, 2009 at 11:49 am Said:
    oh yeah
    look how “human” Obama is..he even talks about jessica simpson’s fat!
    just a down to earth kinda guy

    That’s why he’s walking around without his bulletproof suit coat in dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up … didn’t you get the memo?

  80. madamab and helenk — you girls with sinus problems

    OT, but aside from taking your antibiotics a few natural health remedies — increase your Vit A, which is good for your sinus passages (I actually quadruple my daily does until infection or symptoms are gone); also the spices fenugreek and thyme are awesome for sinuses (add to meals, or you can buy online or at health food stores); monolauric acid is also powerful viral killer, do not eat wheat, yeast, or dairy products, drink real lemon juice in water (great for flushing out mucus), and of course I’m sure you are aware of the need for probiotics when taking antibiotics, the usual one touted is acidophilus (plain yogurt), but bifido bacteriums are often more helpful (like that found in Activia) — both can be purchased in health food stores too

    Hope you all feel better soon.

  81. Hallelujah Madamab! You nailed the problem on the head. Unless we stop treating men as the fountains of wisdom they clearly are not, judging by the disasters of this hill of beans we live in, we will self-destruct. When arrogance and insecurity masquerades as “presidential quality” and when camouflaged misogyny wins a nomination for president and when media misogynist fratboys get to make a President in their image of overpriced tolerance….we got trouble at the asylum!

    And 9 to 5 still is one of my fave movies. Unfortuantely, a lot of the inequalities of the 80s are sitll with us. It’s just that the gay fashion designers want women to look like anorexic teenage boys and the straight pornographers want to sexualize little girls a la Twin Peaks and Lolita! And the “SuperFemiNazie Prez Obbie” will periodically feel down and start launching his attacks on women’s rights to boost his appeal…Ah..change…Not 9 to 5 no more. We got flex hours now! amen sisters!

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