"Beyoncé has written an essay" probably wasn't a phrase you were expecting to see today, but Yoncé's new piece of argumentative writing (as reported by Pitchfork) turns out to be a pretty impeccable op-ed. Titled "Gender Equality Is a Myth!," it calls on men and women alike to fight for equal pay for both genders.
"Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes," Beyoncé writes in the three-paragraph, roughly 200-word salvo. "But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change." Hard to dispute, no?
The piece follows Beyoncé's embrace of the word "feminist" on her masterful new album, Beyoncé, which is poised for a fourth non-consecutive week at the top of the charts. And team Bey has done its homework: According to Politifact, the 77 percent figure she cites is often mischaracterized as describing the gender gap for the same work. Here it's presented accurately as a comparison between the typical pay of all full-time, year-round male and female workers, not accounting for the type of job. That's right: The former Destiny's Child singer got her facts in a row where President Obama and former President Jimmy Carter have actually stretched the truth a little. She (sorry) woke up like this.
Beyoncé's contribution appears in veteran journalist (and former First Lady of California) Maria Shriver's The Shriver Report, a series of policy reports focused on issues affecting women and their families. The reports are produced with left-leaning think tank the Center for American Progress. And yes, we see you on social media questioning Beyoncé's authorship of this piece, but sorry: Public figures who "write" op-eds usually have staffs working for them, too. A pop singer taking a clear and well-argued stand outside the usual celebrity circles can't hurt.
Read the full piece below.
We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn't a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.
Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.
We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of the voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities.