Miss USA Income Inequality Snafu: Three Answers She Could Have Given


Photos: (Miss USA)

We all have cringe-worthy moments, but most of ours don’t play out on live television for millions of people to see. In the question-and-answer portion of the 2013 Miss USA Beauty Pageant this weekend, Miss Utah majorly botched a question about income inequality.

Marissa Powell, also known as Miss Utah, clearly got caught up in the moment when answering celebrity judge NeNe Leakes’ question. Leakes asked Miss Utah:

“A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”

Great question, NeNe! Unfortunately Miss Utah was, uh, not so articulate with her response.

But it’s okay! We have good answers for her right here:

+ This Says…American Families Are Earning Less

If women are the primary earners in 40 percent of American families with children, yet they’re still being paid less than men for the same jobs, what does that mean? Basically, almost half of American families with children are at a significant disadvantage because the breadwinners, women, aren’t earning what they should. Can you imagine if the wage gap was eliminated? How much more money would those 40 percent of families earn in a year? If we’re sentencing such a significant portion of our population to this fate, we’re doing our entire nation a disservice.

+ This Says…Women Aren’t Valued As Much As Men

It’s amazing that we’re still having this conversation in 2013, but here we are. As noted on the White House blog, even though it’s been 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed, the wage gap still exists. If two employees are hired to complete the same job and have the same experience, they should be paid the same. Amiright?

+ This Says…Income Inequality Is Bad For All Women, Especially Women of Color

Men and women are equals under the law, so it does not make sense that women are still only paid 77 cents for every dollar male coworkers earns on average. We’ve all heard that fact before, but did you know the wage gap is even worse for women of color? We think Miss Utah could have used the opportunity to say, Enough is enough: It’s time pay everyone the same, regardless of gender or race.

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