It’s usually no big surprise to anyone that women make less than men (last I heard, it was around $0.74 on every dollar), but can sexuality play into it? One study says yes.
A post that I read on boingboing first drew my attention to this, and then I went to the original post on big think to read some more. Big Think made me giggle, saying, “I have an idea for a Hollywood movie. An ambitious, young, heterosexual woman disguises herself as a lesbian in order to land herself the job of her dreams.” (Are you listening, Hollywood? I’m surprised this hasn’t been made into a movie yet!).
But back to the study – no one can figure out exactly why this is, but it definitely appears that lesbians make more money than heterosexual women. And as a side note: the original study from Industrial Relations shows that a Journal of Economy and Society did not take into account bisexual women, which I think would also make for an interesting study. The study looked at lesbians in two groups – those who had been in a heterosexual marriage, and those who had never been married. The theory behind this wage division is that women who either are in a heterosexual marriage (or whom hope to be) “under invest” themselves, assuming that their spouse will make more money than them. However, women who have never been in a heterosexual marraige and don’t want to be may invest more of themselves into their career.
Big Think explains that this group is equally likely to be in a relationship with a female partner who makes as much money as them as they are to be in a relationship where the spouse makes less. Regardless, the study says overall that lesbians make about 6% more than straight women (again, where do the bisexual women fall?). Now, 6% is a pretty decent wage increase. Where do you go for that? Just walk up to your boss and mention the (lesbian) bar you went to last night? Introduce your female partner? I’m being cheeky, of course. And wage benefits don’t, of course, make up for the many ways in which lesbians may be otherwise discriminated against at work (hello, gay tax?). On the plus side (in my case), I know at my job how much everyone in my position makes as we are all paid the same – regardless of race, gender, religion, or sexuality.