All things unequal: what Kim Kardashian should’ve said to women about work

In a recent interview, multimillionaire social media influencer and reality TV star Kim Kardashian had the gall to suggest that business women are lazy and don’t want to work. “I have the best advice for women in business,” Kardashian told Variety, “Get your f—— ass up and work. It seems like nobody wants to work these days.”

Could this Kardashian be the only business woman on the planet who works hard to earn a living?

Her response is not grounded in reality, wrote Kiva Slade, host of the Collab with Kiva podcast and owner of The 516 Collaborative, a U.S. company that helps business owners make better decisions using data. 

Slade shared some ideas with us that hopefully will change the perception of people like Kardashian who seem unaware of just how hard women work. She shared her views in a private group for women entrepreneurs on Facebook, many of whom have multiple jobs, startups or run their own businesses.


— Kiva Slade

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Slade wanted to tell Kardashian that women are working much longer than men but the reward is far less for women since work doesn’t always result in equal pay; at least not for most women.

If women were paid equally, there wouldn’t be a need for Equal Pay Day. In countries around the world, Equal Pay Day falls on a day in the current year and represents how much longer women have to work to make the same wage as men did in the previous year.

Equal Pay Day tells us that women are working. In some cases they work almost an entire year longer to make the same pay as men, as is the case for Latina women in the United States who work the longest for equal pay.

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According to Equal Pay Today, “More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Latinas typically earn only 49 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men and must work nearly 23 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months.”

Considering the extra time and effort that women have to put in for equal pay, “I’m not sure who Kim was referring to … The simplistic idea that all you have to do is get up and work is not the reality for all women,” Slade wrote.

The fact is that women have a different equal pay day than men. It generally takes women months longer to make the same amount of money as men for the same amount of work. It took women 14.5 months to make the same money that it took men to make in 2021. On March 15, two-and-a-half months later, women in the United States caught up to the wages that men earned the year before.

Women had to work until March 15, 2022 to make the same amount of money as white men did last year, said Slade.

In Canada Equal Pay Day isn’t until April 9.

When you compare different groups of women, Slade said, the date difference is generally more than a month between them.

“Take a moment to let that sink in … imagine yourself working a month more than last year to make the same amount of money,” Slade wrote.

The widening chasm in pay between Black, Indigenous and women of colour and white men

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) found that women earned a median of 83.1 per cent of what men made, based on full-time weekly pay in 2021. When part-time work is included, “women made only 77.3 cents for every dollar a man made.”

The IWPR also notes the difference in pay between white men and Black, Indigenous, and other women of colour, as well as the gap between white women and these same women of colour. This year, they say, the gender wage gap widened for women of colour. For white women it stayed the same.

Hispanic women made only US$58.40, Black women made $63.10, and white women made $79.60 for every $100 that white men made in a full-time job.

This means that Hispanic and Black women work much longer than white men and longer than white women to get paid the same amount of money. And, it means that their break-even point or equal pay day falls much later in the year.

The dates on Slade’s chart below show when some groups of women will make the same amount of money as white men.

Equal Pay Day 2022 BIPOC women. Callout: "We are actually working longer for the same pay." Image of Kim Kardashian, top left. Image of three women, bottom right
Equal Pay Day 2022 BIPOC women. Infograph by Kiva Slade

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) women’s equal pay day is May 3. Women of African heritage or Black women’s equal pay day is September 29. Indigenous or Native women’s equal pay day is November 30. Women of Latin American heritage or Latina women’s equal pay day is December 8.

The reality is that we have inched our way toward equal pay in some countries only to set ourselves back again, especially during the pandemic.

Slade sees the concept of an equal pay day, which advocates on behalf of women to bring about awareness of and to bridge the wage difference between men and women, as a day of celebration — one not meant for most women.

With the ceremonies and events, people dressed in red to signify women being “in the red,” a financial term that suggests a negative bank balance and is nothing to celebrate, one can understand how this could be seen as a celebration in the United States.

The US Department of Labor has shared that the pandemic has set women’s labour force participation back more than 30 years.

— Kiva Slade

BIPOC women Equal Pay Day Then & Now, 2021 and 2022 - Infograph by Kiva Slade
BIPOC women Equal Pay Day, 2021 and 2022. Infograph by Kiva Slade

The U.S. Department of Labor has shared that the pandemic has set women’s labour force participation back more than 30 years. The pandemic, plus layoffs, lack of child care and more have entirely forced many women out of the workforce. Women in low-wage jobs were hit the hardest, she wrote.

Slade suggested that Kardashian was out of touch. “While I understand Kim is considered a reality TV star, her advice is not rooted in reality,” at least not the kind of reality that most women face everyday.

As a fellow woman in business, Slade said, please know that I see you and your work. Undoubtedly, you are likely overworking to make things happen for you, your family, community, and clients, she added.

Advice for business women from Kim Kardashian should have included the following three ideas, suggested Slade:

  1. Find a support group; this is a lonely journey.
  2. You will have to believe in yourself because most people will not.
  3. Don’t be afraid of partnerships; two are stronger than one.

Share your business advice for women in the comments below.

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by Cherryl Bird – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Twitter @ladycbird | Instagram @cherrylbird

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