By The Numbers: The Gender Pay Gap

Equal Pay March (The Atlantic)

Equal Pay March (The Atlantic)

Everyone knows that women get paid less than men. (If you don’t know that by now, you’re welcome.) You may have heard that stat that women make 75 cents to every dollar a man makes.

This got me curious to see what the pay gap has been throughout recent history. I found long-range pay gap data from Pay Equity Information. I then made a data table to cherry-pick my desired years:

Gender Pay Gap Data, 1960-2015 (Pay Equity Information)

Gender Pay Gap Data, 1960-2015 (Pay Equity Information)

Then I created a line graph to see the difference visually:

Gender Pay Gap: 1960-2015 chart (Pay Equity Information)

Gender Pay Gap: 1960-2015 chart (Pay Equity Information)

As you can see, the pay gap was worst in 1960-1980. Only after 1980 does the ratio start to approach 70 cents to a dollar. And there’s still so far to go.

North Carolina Passes LGBT Discrimination Law

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (Instinct Magazine)

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks during a news conference, Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Raleigh, N.C. In one of his first acts as governor, McCrory issued an executive order to repeal the nonpartisan judicial nominating commission established by former Gov. Bev Perdue. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Takaaki Iwabu)

North Carolina Mayor Pat McCrory has now ensured that his state has made the news recently for all the wrong reasons: On Mar. 24th, he signed House Bill 2 into law, which overrides any local government’s anti-discrimination bills that benefitted the LGBT community. (The bill was introduced by the North Carolina State Legislature, which I’ve now refer to as the NCSL.) And not only did McCrory sign this into law, he did it in just one day.

Why is this a huge deal? For one, the NCSL has now blocked a measure that the city of Charlotte (the state’s largest city and the South’s banking hub) recently brought forth which banned discrimination against the LGBT community. Where others would see progress, the NCSL saw…inappropriate public restroom use?

“The Atlantic” breaks down what exactly this new law (ick!) entails:

It also prevents any local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances, mandates that students in the state’s schools use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate, and prevents cities from enacting minimum wages higher than the state’s.

Seriously, this new law is all kinds of trouble. But what really gets me is the notion of forcing transgender students to use the restrooms of the gender for which they were assigned at birth. The NCSL is perpetuating the myth that transpeople are pedophiles, and will follow children into public restrooms to ensure vulnerability. I don’t have to tell you how insane that is, do I?

McCrory’s also sending a statement that the capricious whims of the state government will rule any actions local governments make to better their own communities.

This measure will go into effect on Apr. 1st.

Real talk here: I’m from North Carolina. I haven’t lived there in years, but my parents and much of my extended family still resides there. I love going back to visit, but wouldn’t want to live back there again for various reasons. And this new law has given me yet another reason not to go back.

If North Carolina really wants to show that the state, and its residents, are progressive and accepting of all, the NCSL and Pat McCrory really need to turn this ship around, and fast. (I mean, damn, Charlotte’s newspaper “The Charlotte Observer” just published an op-ed putting McCrory in the ranks of other Southern governors that proved to be on the wrong side of history.)

I’m aware of how Southerners are portrayed and thought of outside the bounds of the South (and have even been the victim of these stereotypes sometimes), and right now, North Carolina is looking like a right bumpkin. And not a cute one. Instead of the little cousin who’s endearingly behind the times due to her own innocent ignorance, the Old North State has progressed (ha!) to being the willfully racist hick uncle everyone just grits their teeth and bears at the best of times.

I used to be proud of where I’m from. But this latest idiocy is making it real hard to be.

The U.S. Abortion Rate Has Been Decreasing Since 2002

Baby (Santa Banta)

Baby (Santa Banta)

Abortion rates have been falling over the years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) completed a study last year that analyzed long-term abortion trends, spanning from 1969 to 2011.

The Declining Abortion Rate (The Atlantic)

The Declining Abortion Rate (The Atlantic)

The CDC counted 730K+ abortions in 2011, which works out to 16.9 abortions per 1K women ages 15-44. This is the lowest ratio for abortions since 1973, where 16.3 abortions were recorded for every 1K women within the aforementioned age range. The study’s abstract notes that abortions were highest among adolescents and lowest among women ages 30-39 for the duration of the study. Women in their 20s had the majority of abortions.

Researchers speculate that the decrease in abortions is linked to changing social attitudes about the practice, as well as marriage. When marriage was the socially-acceptable default setting for relationships, abortions were much more rare. But now that marriage rates have decreased, many women are choosing to terminate an unplanned pregnancy rather than have a shotgun wedding with the father.

An article on “The Atlantic” also notes that American attitudes toward abortion have shifted in recent years. While only 20% of the surveyed population would like to see the practice outlawed, 38% surveyed believe it’s “morally objectionable.” This prevailing idea is likely preventing some women from having abortions, and so carrying the fetus the term. It’s very possible that the numbers on abortion are higher than reported, due to any lingering shame or stigma (either internal or external) women who’ve gone through it may face.

 

How Many People Fantasize About Having Sex With Identical Twins?

Twins Jordan and Zac Stenmark (Lyra Mag)

Twins Jordan and Zac Stenmark (Lyra Mag)

I read an NPR article on twins recently, calling millennials “Generation Twin.” This name applied due to the fact that one million more twins were born between 1980 and 2012. (This checks out with my personal anecdotal evidence: I graduated high school in 2004, and my class of 106 students boasted three sets of twins.)

“The Atlantic” goes a bit deeper into why this is: The rise in twins is due to the rise in fertility drugs, most notably IVF. Older women are the ones mostly using fertility drugs, and producing most of the babies. Also, older women are statistically more likely to have twins than younger women.

Here’s a handy table to visualize the rise in twins over the past decades:

Twins' birth rate, 1980-2012 (The Atlantic)

Twins’ birth rate, 1980-2012 (The Atlantic)

That got me wondering if sexual fantasies about twins (both identical and fraternal) have also increased.

After doing some digging, I really couldn’t find anything. I didn’t find any studies about sexual fantasies, or fantasies coming true, involving twins.

The closest I got was the recent study on sexual fantasies by researchers at Canada’s University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres, published in the “Journal of Sexual Medicine.” “Business Insider” helpfully took all the data for male fantasies and put it together. The closest question the researchers asked the 717 men used about twins was about having sex with two women. Over 84% of men reported this fantasy, but we cannot extrapolate that this necessarily means twins.

The identical-twin fantasy didn’t show up for the women either, but that’s perhaps more understandable: Women aren’t generally depicted as having that particular fantasy (though I’m sure there are some outliers).

I find it strange that a fantasy that looms so large in popular culture (for men, at least) has basically no data to back it up.