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Five TV Characters Who Could Use A Raise

There are so many awesome depictions of professionally ambitious ladies on TV right now. But after thinking about Equal Pay Day yesterday, and acknowledging that women still earn an average of only 77 cents to every dollar men earn, I had to wonder: what’s Liz Lemon’s wage gap? Are ALL of my favorite working women on TV underpaid? After looking into it, I came up with a depressing answer: yes. Here are my top five favorite underpaid female heroines. Who are your TV working heroines? Who did I leave off the list? Let me know!

1) Liz Lemon of 30 Rock

The very first person I thought of when I thought about hard-working women on TV was OBVIOUSLY Liz Lemon. Girlfriend works HARD. She works extremely late, keeps crazy hours, and throws her life, heart, and soul into her work – and enjoys every single second of it. Plus, female producers/directors have median weekly earnings of $1,070; while men have median weekly earnings of $1,131. Hers wasn’t the biggest or most shocking gap on my list, but $61 per week translates to $3,172 per year – that’s an awful lot of Cheesy Blasters!

2) Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation

And of course, Leslie Knope (AKA my own personal hero/spirit animal) came in close second -- mostly because we have similar priorities. Leslie is the most dedicated to the Pawnee Parks & Recreation Department and to the city of Pawnee in general. She doesn’t have an off switch for work, but she still manages to make it fit into her life – mostly because she incorporates her friends, work, and love life together. And chances are Leslie could use a couple of extra dollars in her paycheck - female first-line supervisors or managers of office and administrative support workers make only 84% of what their male counterparts do.

3) Max Black of 2 Broke Girls

Max works incredibly hard – she deals with difficult customers full-time at a diner and is an entrepreneur with her own cupcake business. She has to work harder than her male counterparts to save up money for her business - waitresses make only 85% of what men do, with median weekly earnings of $381 vs. the $419 their male counterparts make.

4) Juliet O’Hara of Psych

Juliet dedicates her life to protecting the people of Santa Barbara, plus has to put up with all the craziness of Shawn, Gus, and Lasseter,who probably earn more than she does. Women in protective service occupations make only 76% of what men in similar positions do.

5) Mindy Lahiri of The Mindy Project

Mindy Kaling’s character on The Mindy Project may be a partner and boss at her medical practice, but she still has to work magnificently hard to be taken seriously by her male counterparts, who often write off her suggestions and improvements for the practice, like “Mindy’s Minute” – which everyone initially makes fun of, but nobody can come up with a better option to get the name of the practice out there. Plus, as a native New Yorker, I can tell you RIGHT NOW that being on Taxi TV is AWESOME. I’m jealous of you, Mindy Lahiri.

Mindy is also likely wildly underpaid - female physicians and surgeons make only 64% of what their male counterparts do.

What hard-working female characters did I leave off this list? Let me know! And to learn more about the gender-based wage gap, visit Narrow the Gap!



More articles in WMC FBomb by Category: Economy, Feminism, Media
More articles in WMC FBomb by Tag: Activism and advocacy, News, Equality, Equal Pay, Television
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