Why do some people get paid more than others?
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For this week’s question, both Henry and Nathanial wanted to know why some people get paid more than others. Ryan and Bridget help break down the “wage gap” with the help of the Vindicators superhero squad who are on a mission to make pay more fair. Plus, we brainstorm ways to fix the problem.
And now … tips for grown-ups listening to “Million Bazillion” with kids
After you listen to the episode, here are some questions you can ask kids to find out how much they learned about the wage gap:
- What is the wage gap?
- Why does the wage gap exist?
- What are ways companies can make pay more fair?
(Scroll down or click here for answers!)
If you and your kids want to learn more about the wage gap, here’s some extra material you might find helpful.
- Here are more ways to talk to your kid about the wage gap from Girls Leadership.
- Teaching kids to negotiate is an important skill that will help them fight the wage gap when they grow up. Listen back to our episode about the power of negotiation.
- In this episode, the Vindicators decide to form the first superheroes union. The children’s book “¡Si, Se Puede!/Yes, We Can!” looks at the history of a janitors’ strike in Los Angeles.
Thanks for listening to this episode. Do your kids still have questions about the wage gap, pay disparities or labor unions? Send them to us using this online form.
Money Talks Answers
- The difference in pay between different workers.
- Several reasons, including discrimination, implicit bias, limited child care options, societal beliefs.
- Pay transparency. Double checking everyone’s being paid fairly. Not using someone’s pay at their last job to determine pay at their new job.
This episode is sponsored by Greenlight. (For a limited time, get $10 when you sign up for a Greenlight account at greenlght.com/MILLION).
Million Bazillion: S4 E5 Fall Into The Gap Script/Transcript
Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Scripts may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it
(SFX: SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD AMBIENCE)
RYAN: Skimbleshanks! Skimbleshanks, where are you my precious feline angel?
BRIDGET: What’s the matter, Ryan? Did you lose your cat?
RYAN: Bridget! I can’t find Skimbleshanks anywhere. I’m worried sick.
(SFX: CAT MEOWING)
BRIDGET: Wait. Is that Skimbleshanks? Up there in that tree?
RYAN: Oh no! It is! And not even I, at an impressive height of 5 feet, 10 and a quarter inches, am tall enough to reach a branch at that height! How are we gonna get him down?
(SFX: WHISTLE IN THE WIND)
(MUSIC: HEROIC SUPERHERO MUSIC)
VERONICA: Never fear! It’s me, Veronica Valiant! I’ll rescue your cat!
BRIDGET: Wow! It’s Veronica Valiant! My favorite member of the Vindicators Super Hero Squad! I can’t believe she’s here to rescue Skimbelshanks!
(SFX: LEAVES RUSTLING. CAT MEOWING. VERONICA STRUGGLES)
VERONICA: Here’s your cat, safe and sound!
(SFX: CAT HAPPY MEOWING)
RYAN: Thank you, Veronica Valiant! You saved the day!
VERONICA: Don’t mention it. It’s all part of being a superhero!
(MUSIC SWELLS TO CLIMAX)
VERONICA: Um, so what are you up to now?
RYAN: Uhhh, we’re just starting an episode of our money podcast, Million Bazillion.
VERONICA: Cool. Cool. You think I could stick around for that?
RYAN: Uh, I guess? If you want. You really don’t have anything more important to do?
VERONICA: No. It’s kind of a slow morning for crime, and I’m not due at the office till noon, so-
BRIDGET: Ok, well, great, then let’s roll the music!
BRIDGET: You’re listening to Million Bazillion. I’m Bridget.
RYAN: I’m Ryan. And We Help Dollars Make More Sense. Now today, we have two listeners with a question along the same lines! Let’s hear ‘em!
HENRY: “Hi, my name is Henry and I am 7 years old and I live in New Jersey and my question is, why do some employees get paid more than others?”
NATHANIEL: Hi my name is Nathaniel I am eight years old. I–live in Singapore. My question is, “Why do some people make more money than others? Why wouldn’t people be paid the same salary?”
RYAN: Very interesting questions, Henry and Nathaniel. Why, it’s the very same question once asked long ago by a man named Karl Marx. Born in 1818, Kar-
BRIDGET: I actually called up Nathaniel and Henry to ask them what they meant. Henry had recently seen this movie about these singing animals, and one of the characters gets paid less than her co-workers. It turns out, in real life…when economists do the math on how much we all get paid…people who don’t identify as men are getting paid less. It’s called the wage gap.
RYAN: Yeah, it’s like if you got ten dollars a week for allowance and your brother got twenty, you’d definitely want to know why.
VERONICA: Hey, I got an idea.
RYAN: Oh, hey, Veronica, you’re still here.
VERONICA: Yup. Instead of sitting in your yard for this whole episode, how would you like to visit the Vindicator headquarters? I can take you there, show you around, introduce you to some other superheroes…
BRIDGET: Wow! You really mean it?!?
RYAN: Intriguing offer. Bridget and I will think it over.
BRIDGET: No, we don’t need to think about it! Take us to the Vindicator headquarters, yes please!
VERONICA: Alright, grab hold tight to my cape and get ready for a wild ride!
(MUSIC: SUPERHERO MUSIC)
RYAN & BRIDGET: Ahhh!
RYAN: We’re flying through the air!
BRIDGET: Hold tight! We’ll be right back after this with a tour of the Vindicator’s headquarters and some answers for Henry and Nathaniel!
(SFX: CAT MEOW)
RYAN: Hold on, Skimbleshanks!
–Asking Random Kids NOT SO Random Questions–
ANNOUNCER: And now it’s time for asking random kids, some NOT SO random questions. Today’s question is: if you could make money doing your favorite thing ever? What would that favorite thing be?
RANDOM KIDS: “Eating a blueberry muffin every day!” “Playing soccer.” “I think I would choose Minecraft.” “Playing video games!” “It would be a movie director.” “I wish I could make money looking at cool stuff in museums.” “Probably riding horses or painting.” “I would find money just reading a book.” “It would be drawing because once you put your pencil to the paper and really think about it, you can make a whole world out of anything you want.”
ANNOUNCER: That was Ava in Philadelphia, Roena in Louisville Kentucky, Joshua in Denver, Ayla in Springfield Ohio, Mickey from Denver, Roman in New York City, Natalia in Arizona, Bethany in North Carolina, Teddy in Richmond Virginia. This has been asking kids NOT SO random questions.
(SFX: TWO BODIES HITTING THE GROUND)
BRIDGET/RYAN: Oooof! Arrrgh!
(SFX: CAT MEOW)
VERONICA: Here we are at the secret headquarters of the Vindicators, America’s favorite all-star superhero force!
BRIDGET: O.M.G. You don’t understand how huge this is for me, Ryan. I’m, like, the number one fan of the Vindicators. I read about them when they’re in the news, I watch all the movies and TV shows based on their adventures. I love the Vindicators, don’t you just love the Vindicators?
RYAN: (BEAT) Eh. I’m not really into super heroes, per se. No offense at all. I’m more of a world cinema guy. Y’know, the great filmmakers like Fellini, Tarkovsky, Mizoguchi-
VERONICA: Oh, yeah, totally, I think I follow them on TikTok. [CHANGING SUBJECT] Let me introduce you to some of my co-workers: This is MegaWoman.
(MUSIC: SUPERHERO MUSIC)
MEGAWOMAN: (FAST-PACED) What’s up? Can I get you a water? Coffee? Anything you want.
VERONICA: She can fit all of her tasks into a single day by manipulating time.
MEGAWOMAN (EVEN MORE FAST-PACED): My morning’s wide open. I’m borrowing time from next Tuesday.
VERONICA: And this is The Flex. They can absorb rage and turn it into placid seething.
THE FLEX: (TENSE-SOUNDING): Uh, yeah. That’s me.
VERONICA: And this, of course, is Doctor Weird.
(SFX: EERIE THEREMIN SOUND)
DOCTOR WEIRD: I’m reading your mind, and can tell you’re excited to meet me.
BRIDGET: Wow! Doctor Weird, you’re right!
VERONICA: Here’s SheBorg.
SHE-BORG: (ROBOT VOICE) Greetings, human friend.
VERONICA: And of course, you all know and love Gruk.
GRUK: I am Gruk.
BRIDGET: Wow, thanks for bringing us here to meet everyone!
THE FLEX: Typical Veronica, always pickin’ up strays.
VALIANT: Flex, don’t make me bust out my laser.
(SFX: LASER BLOCK SOUND AND SMALL EXPLOSION)
THE FLEX: Nice try, V. But your laser’s no match for my shield of destiny.
MEGAWOMAN: Looks like we’re gonna have to replace the coffee-maker again! I’ll find a good one online… aaaand it’s shipped, should be here by noon.
BRIDGET: Wow, it really is like the movies. You superheroes just wisecrack and fistbump each other all day…
RYAN: Hey, would there happen to be a litterbox on the premises that Skimbleshanks can use? And just a normal litterbox, not some litterbox for super cats that shoots lasers?
VERONICA: Sure, try the pet-sitting room down the hall, to your left. Bridget, while he’s taking care of Skimbleshanks, why don’t you follow us.
(SFX: MULTIPLE FOOTSTEPS WALKING)
VERONICA: (HUSHED) Ok, listen Bridget. We didn’t bring you to the Vindicator headquarters by chance. You’re here for a reason. To help us with a money problem.
(MUSIC: SUSPENSEFUL PLOTTING TYPE MUSIC)
BRIDGET: What is it? I’ll help you in any way that I can!
VERONICA: A few days ago, and there was a problem with my paycheck. I had to go down to the payroll office- That’s where they write all the checks they use to pay the superheros for their work every week- So I could get my paper check re-printed.
BRIDGET: Wait, you use paper checks? You don’t have direct deposit?
VERONICA: No. I keep meaning to get it.
BRIDGET: Oh, you gotta do it! It’s so easy, the bank just puts your money right into your account without you needing to do anything! It’s SO much more convenient. And when you have it – oh, sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt. Go on with your story.
VERONICA: Anyway, in the payroll office, I got a glimpse at the Vindicator payroll spreadsheet and I saw that we female superheroes are being paid less than our male superhero colleagues. Flex is non-binary and they’re being paid less too!
BRIDGET: What? That’s terrible!
VERONICA: And I had no idea until that very moment! Because we never talk about how much we make! And I don’t think anyone’s ever checked to make sure we’re all being paid fairly!
BRIDGET: Are you kidding me??
VERONICA: So when I saw the opportunity to rescue Ryan’s cat, I had to do it in order to make contact with you, Bridget.
BRIDGET: Ok, well this is really great timing because this is the question we’re going to answer today: “Why do some employees get paid more than others?”
DOCTOR WEIRD: Yes, I could sense that.
BRIDGET: Oh, Dr. Weird! Is this the part where you explain the whole problem, and what to do next?
DOCTOR WEIRD: Let me bring up my presentation.
SHE-BORG: I’ll play some intriguing explainer music.
DOCTOR WEIRD: Thanks, She-Borg, that would be helpful.
(MUSIC: SPY TYPE MUSIC)
DOCTOR WEIRD: It’s true that not everyone is going to get paid the same amount of money, for all kinds of reasons. Some of those reasons are fair. Like if someone’s been doing their job for a really long time, they might make more than the person who just started.
BRIDGET: Yep, that makes sense. That’s called seniority. You get paid more when you have more experience doing the job.
DOCTOR WEIRD: Or maybe someone’s really good at their job in a way that can be measured. Like you’re a baker who, in one hour, can make twice as many loaves of bread than the other bakers.
VERONICA VALIANT: Wait wait, cut the music, SheBorg.
(SFX: RECORD SCRATCH, MUSIC STOPS)
VERONICA: Look, we know there are fair and logical reasons why some people get paid more at a job than others, but that isn’t the case here. I’ve been at my superhero job longer than almost any of the Vindicators, and I lead the department in number of daily cat rescues. and I’m getting paid less than Kid Gravity, a rookie who just started!
DR WEIRD: Well, according to my research, this problem goes way beyond just the Vindicators. In fact, when you add up what all the women in the country are making and compare that to what the men are making, using like, averages and all that, women across the country are making less than men! We’re talking 84 cents for every dollar compared to men!
SUPER HEROS: VOICE OUTRAGE
DR WEIRD: And then look at what happens when we start to break these numbers by race. Asian American women working full time make 92 cents for every dollar their white, male colleagues make. Black women make only 67 cents. And Latinas and Native women typically only make 57 cents for every dollar a white male gets!
MEGAWOMAN: (FAST) Say it ain’t so! How can this be? What gives?
DR WEIRD: Well sometimes it’s for just plain mean unfairness. Like sexism, racism, along with ageism and ableism.
THE FLEX: Hey hey, isn’t this a kids show? What are you even talking about with all these -ism?
BRIDGET: Flex, all of those “isms” that Dr Weird just mentioned are examples of discrimination – That’s treating a group unfairly because of their race or age or abilities or gender. Sometimes this unfairness is baked into what we all think is normal, and that’s what’s happening here.
VERONICA: As Vindicators, we’re supposed to fight against unfairness. How could this happen to us??
BRIDGET: Well, there are a lot of old fashioned ways of thinking that created this problem. For instance, a long time ago, it was considered totally okay to pay women less because everyone assumed that her husband’s job was the real income and she was just working to earn a little extra.
DOCTOR WEIRD: That’s ridiculous! As Doctor Weird, I’m the primary earner in my household. My family depends on my income way more than my husband, Freelance Music Critic Weird! Although he is great at his job.
BRIDGET: Oh yeah, it’s totally bananas. You know, Doctor Weird, And as a country, we’re still figuring out how to stop thinking in that old fashioned way.
THE FLEX: But aren’t there, like, laws about this?
BRIDGET: Oh, good question, Flex. Yeah. There was a law passed years ago, The Equal Pay Act. People thought it would solve everything, but that law doesn’t help with some bigger problems around fairness and pay. Like how some very important jobs pay less than other jobs. There’s still work to be done to close the wage gap.
MEGAWOMAN: Wage gap? Did you say wage gap?
THE FLEX: I know where there’s a giant gap! That big quarry in the industrial district! If we can fill that gap, maybe everyone will be paid the same!
BRIDGET: Oh, no no no. The “wage gap” isn’t a literal gap. It’s just another word for what we’re talking about. That difference or gap between how much men and women, or people of different races, are paid.
VERONICA: Sure, whatever, yeah! Set our coordinates to the quarry! We’re gonna go fill that gap!
GRUK: I AM GRUK!
VERONICA: Bridget, I’m making you a temporary member of the Vindicators! With your help, we’ll drive out this unfairness, one workplace at a time, if we have to. If anyone out there is being paid less for no good reasons, we’ll put a stop to it with sheer superhero force!
BRIDGET: Ok. I’m totally on board… in spirit. But this is a complicated issue, it shouldn’t be up to any individual to solve. Bosses really need to take responsibility, but it’s true it doesn’t have a super simple solution-
VERONICA: Yeah yeah yeah, let’s obliterate this problem once and for all! To the hovercraft!
MEGAWOMAN/FLEX/ DOCTOR WEIRD/ SHEBORG: To the hovercraft!
GRUK: I am Gruk!
BRIDGET: To the hovercraft! I guess? We’ll be back right after this.
(SFX: FOOTSTEPS RUNNING OUT, HOVERCRAFT STARTING UP IN THE DISTANCE)
RYAN: OK, good job Skimbleshanks, let’s see if they got any catfood here- Hey, where did everyone go? Bridget?…. Veronica?… Gruk?
-MIDROLL (CREDIT BREAK)-
(SFX: LOUD HOVERCRAFT ENGINES) (MUSIC: ACTION MUSIC)
BRIDGET: Ok, welcome back to Million Bazillion. This is Bridget. I’ll try to recap what’s going on, even though I can’t believe what’s going on. In this episode, we’re trying to get to the bottom of why some people are paid more than others, and long story short, I’m now a member of the superhero group, The Vindicators, traveling in their massive hovercraft above the city, on a mission to make pay more fair!
VERONICA: Now let’s get to work!
BRIDGET:Hey, what happened to Ryan?
VERONICA: Don’t worry. Ryan’s back at headquarters, probably bro-ing it up with the boys.
(QUICK MUSICAL TRANSITION)
(SFX: WEIGHT ROOM. GRUNTING AND WEIGHTS CLINKING AND DROPPING)
(SFX: CAT MEOW)
RYAN: It’s ok, Skimbleshanks. It’s just a roomful of superheroes working out.
ULTRA WARRIOR: Yo, they call me the Ultra Warrior. What’s your name?
ULTRA WARRIOR: That’s cool. Are you like The Amazing Ryan or something?
RYAN: No, just regular Ryan.
ULTRA WARRIOR: So which muscles do you like working out the most: abs, gluts, traps?
RYAN: (THINKS) Uh, all of them. I like all of them.
ULTRA WARRIOR: You’re a compound workout guy. Vibes. So you think you got what it takes to be a superhero?
RYAN: I don’t really want to be a superhero.
(SFX: HEROIC MUSIC)
JEFF PAIN: (LIKE SAMUEL L JACKSON) You don’t want to be a superhero?
RYAN: Whoa… are you…?
JEFF PAIN: That’s right. I’m Jeff Pain. Founder of the Vindicators. I put this whole group together.
RYAN: Wow, even though your name is Jeff Pain, you seem perfectly nice.
JEFF PAIN: (CHUCKLES) Common mistake. My name is Pain but I’m really just a super nice boss and all my employees love me. They all pitched in together and got me this great mug, see? It says Best SuperHero Boss. So, Ryan, what do you have against superheroes?
RYAN: No offense. It’s just that a lot of your adventures end the same way. There’s a bad guy and a big light that shoots up to the sky and you have to stop it in time, and you always do. And I think I personally like adventures that are a little less easy to predict. The kind of stories you see, for instance, in the world cinema classics of yesteryear.
ULTRA WARRIOR: Well, like what do you mean?
RYAN: Funny you should ask, I have a list…
(SFX: LIST UNFURLING)
RYAN: Well, let’s see, there’s La Strada, very good, Kurosawa’s Ikiru, Riffifi, Règles du jeu, the films of Claire Denis and Agnès Varda, Panther Panchali…
ULTRA WARRIOR: (INTERSPERSED WITH RYAN’S TITLES): Never seen it, don’t know it, never seen it…
JEFF PAIN: (INTERSPERSED WITH RYAN’S TITLES): Hmmm. Don’t know it. Never seen that one.
(QUICK MUSICAL TRANSITION)
(SFX: LOUD HOVERCRAFT ENGINES)
VERONICA: Ok, we’re at the giant quarry. Let’s blow up those rocks with our missile!
THE FLEX: We gotta fill that wage gap so women will be paid as much as men!
GRUK: I am Gruk!
BRIDGET: Hey hold on here, hold on. Blowing up those rocks won’t solve anything! Like I said, this is a complicated problem! We’ve only scratched the surface!
VERONICA:But what are we supposed to do about it? Please say the answer is blow up rocks.
BRIDGET: The answer is not to blow up rocks.
MEGAWOMAN: Yeah, but can’t we just blow up rocks to feel better?
BRIDGET: Unfortunately, I don’t think so. But for you, Veronica and the rest of the team, well, I think you’re gonna have to have an uncomfortable conversation with your superhero boss.
VERONICA: Ok. I guess we’re going to have to have an uncomfortable meeting with the founder of the Vindicators, Jeff Pain. Gruk, turn the hovercraft around and head back to headquarters.
(SFX: MISSILE LAUNCH, EXPLOSION, ROCKS TUMBLE)
VERONICA: Gruk! I said turn the hovercraft around! Not “blow up the rocks”!
GRUK: (APOLOGETIC TONE) I am Gruk.
(SFX: HOVERCRAFT ENGINES BLARE)
BRIDGET: Ok, we’re back at the Vindicator headquarters. Where’s Ryan? Oh, there he is. Ryan, what’s going on in here?
(SFX: ITALIAN LANGUAGE MOVIE IN BACKGROUND)
RYAN: Shhhh, some of the boys were curious about world cinema so we’re watching Vittorio de Sica’s drama Two Women. It’s almost over.
VERONICA: Ok, turn off the movie!
(SFX: MOVIE STOPS. MALE “AWWWWWS” FROM THE CROWD)
VERONICA: Emergency group meeting in five minutes! I’m requesting everyone, including our boss, Jeff Pain to join us. Wait, Ultra Warrior, are you crying?
ULTRA WARRIOR: (CRYING) Yeah.
VERONICA: Is everything ok?
ULTRA WARRIOR: (CRYING) Totally. Five minutes. (MACHO) We’ll be there!
(SFX: GROUP MEETING AMBIENCE, COUGHS AND CHAIR SQUEAKS LIKE YOU HEAR IN A GROUP MEETING)
VERONICA: Ok, Vindicators listen up! Thank you all for dropping whatever you were doing to attend this meeting on short notice. And thanks to our boss, the guy who recruited us all in the first place, Jeff Pain, for joining us.
JEFF PAIN: Hey, happy to join! You know I work hard to be an agreeable, likable boss. Speaking of which, I brewed some hot cocoa for everyone…
GROUP: Awwwwwww. / Thanks, Jeff!
VERONICA: Ok, that is nice, but I have something awkward to bring up. This is a super sensitive subject that’ll probably make everyone mad, so I’m gonna… give the floor over to our honorary Vindicator, Bridget. Bridget, they’re all yours.
BRIDGET: Me? Really?… Uh, ok, um. Look, I’ll just come out and say it. The male and female members of the Vindicators are not being paid the same for doing the same kind of work.
(SFX: RUSTLES OF SHOCK AND DISAPPROVAL)
BRIDGET: No doubt about it, this is an unfair situation and it should change. Not just in this workplace, but in every workplace. But there might actually be another force at work here!
JEFF PAIN: I’m sure that’s not happening here! We’re all one big happy mutant, robot, psychic family, you know what I mean?
WEIRD: Bridget’s right, Jeff. In my research, I found that there are some jobs that women are just more likely to have. And those jobs pay less than jobs men are more likely to have. But that doesn’t make any sense. Why don’t we pay all sorts of jobs the same, why should a lawyer make so much more than a teacher?
MEGAWOMAN: Teachers are really really important!
RYAN: Yes, including teachers of classic cine-
DR WEIRD: AND when women enter a field in large numbers, the pay drops! And then there’s another thing. Look at this…women are more likely to work part time than men. But don’t you think that’s a little suspicious?
VERONICA: What’s stopping all these women from working as much as men? And can we defeat it??
DR WEIRD: Men and women might start working at about the same age, but women are more likely to have to take breaks, like if they have a baby. That’s a major medical event and they usually want to take some time to recover, and you know, be with their baby. Oh and by the way, their partners aren’t always given any time off! This isn’t true in all countries, but it is in this country.
SHE-BORG: Even I want to spend time with my robot family!
RYAN: I didn’t get time off when Skimbleshanks was born.
DR WEIRD: And speaking of this country, childcare and babysitters are really expensive. Sometimes families have to decide which parent will need to work fewer hours to be home for the kids after school or that sort of thing. And typically, it ends up being the woman who cuts her hours, or chooses a lower paying but more flexible job. And when you average it all together, it gets us to that big difference in pay we started with: that women are only making about 84 cents for every dollar a man earns.
BRIDGET: Now let’s get to what’s happening here. All that is just swimming around, a big problem none of us is going to solve on our own. But your boss, Jeff Pain, might suffer from something called implicit bias. And it’s twisting his mind when it comes to paying some of the Vindicators.
THE FLEX: Implicit bias? Didn’t we defeat that villain last year?
MEGAWOMAN: No. That was Vicious Tobias. This is something else.
BRIDGET: Implicit bias is a way of thinking that we’re not totally aware of, we do it without even thinking. Like if you’re mean to someone who eats a food you don’t like, or wears a t-shirt in a color you hate.
VERONICA: Wait, is that why I’ve never gotten along with the Orange Oracle? My dislike of the color orange??
MEGAWOMAN: See, I told you.
BRIDGET: It’s important that we do the work to notice and overcome our implicit biases. And there are plenty of other things bosses could do to fix this problem. Like Jeff Pain, when you were trying to figure out how much you should pay your employees, how did you come up with that number?
JEFF PAIN: Well, I look at what someone made at their last job before I decide how much to offer them for a job here. I was trying to be nice and fair!
BRIDGET: But if your female hires are mostly coming from a place of never having been paid as well, how are they supposed to ever earn more?
(SFX: “AHHHS” OF UNDERSTANDING FROM THE GROUP)
BRIDGET: Another way to fix this is to just stop being so secretive about how much money everyone makes. Some bosses might try to make you think you’re not supposed to talk about how much you make BUT that’s actually against the law, they can’t stop you from talking about your pay.
VERONICA: Is that right? So what’s your salary, Ultra Warrior?
ULTRA WARRIOR: Look, I’m all for the ladies being paid as much as the men, but Ultra Warrior is not telling how much bacon he brings home.
RYAN: Ultra Warrior, you don’t want to be THAT guy who doesn’t help out his colleagues. Just go ahead, tell them. You’ll feel better after, I promise.
ULTRA WARRIOR: OK, ok, ok! I make $68 thousand dollars a year.
VERONICA: Hey that’s 6K more than what I make
JEFF PAIN: Pffff. Well, $6 thousand dollars a year isn’t small, but it’s not really a huge gap, is it?
BRIDGET: Hey, it’s still something! Think about how much you could buy in a year with $6,000! And then add it up over time, years and years. Decades! We’re talking about enough money to buy a house or put away for retirement. It’s enough money to change a life.
JEFF PAIN: Okay, I get it, I get it. Now, this has been a healthy conversation. Starting today, I’m gonna change some things about the Vindicators moving forward. From now on, I’m gonna be more transparent about wages and make the salaries publicly known in job postings. And I’ll do a regular audit to make sure my implicit bias isn’t creeping in, over time.
VERONICA: But that’s not enough! I know what we need to do! We need to gather all our weapons! And go search every corner of the universe until we find Implicit Bias!
(SFX: ALL THE SUPERHEROS YELL “YAARRRRGHHH!”)
VERONICA: Implicit bias, we’re coming for you!
(SFX: A BIG GROUP OF FOOTSTEPS RUSHES OUT WITH YELLING)
BRIDGET: Wait a minute! Implicit bias isn’t something you can attack with weapons! It’s a different kind of struggle! You have to have discussions about it… They left.
JEFF PAIN: Well, Bridget, looks like your job here is done.
RYAN: (WHISPERING) Excuse me, Mr. Pain, I know this isn’t the best time, but we came here riding on the back of a cape. Do the Vindicators have a car service that can take us home or should we call our own Uber?
JEFF PAIN: [LAUGHS KNOWINGLY]
-Mini-seg: Would You Rather-
BEN: It’s now time to play “Would You Rather.” I’m Ben from West Grove Pennsylvania. Today we want to know: would you rather take a trip to anywhere in the world, but live without video games… OR… play video games all day, but never go on vacation ever again? Let us know what you think! We are at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! Bye
(SFX: OUTSIDE RAIN)
BRIDGET: Ok, welcome back, we’re outside the Vindicator headquarters…in the rain…waiting for our ride.
RYAN: It’s ok Skimbleshanks, our Uber driver Dennis will be here in 4 minutes..
(SFX: MULTIPLE FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)
BRIDGET: Veronica Valiant? You’re back already.
VERONICA: Yeah, we tried tracking down implicit bias and the more we asked about it, the more we realized the best solution is for us to just start a union. So we’re gonna organize the first superhero union ever to help ensure all superheroes are paid fairly.
THE FLEX: And workplace hazards are properly recognized and dealt with.
MEGAWOMAN: Yeah, like if we get paper cuts handling forms.
SHE BORG: Yeah or, y’know, cut in half by a laser beam.
(MUSIC: RECAP MUSIC)
BRIDGET: That’s great! Like I said, the wage gap isn’t an easy problem to fix but there are some things we can do to make it more fair The more-
RYAN: Bridget. Our driver Dennis will be here in 2 minutes.
BRIDGET: Ryan, I’m in the middle of the big recap.
RYAN: Sorry, I just wanted to keep you updated.
(RESUME RECAP MUSIC)
BRIDGET: Anyway, the more a company shares about how much they pay, the better. And bosses can help close this gap by double checking they’re not paying their employees unfairly. And maybe even offering childcare? I don’t know, there are a ton of solutions out there. But bigger than that, we all have to SEE that there’s a problem with the way we set pay in this country, so we can start to do the work to fix it. Remember, the wage gap exists because of ideas people have about work. At the end of the day, it should be about fairness, you know? And for anyone listening, you can always look for ways to make the world more fair. Think about how you share snacks at lunch time or toys on the playground. Is there anyone you’re leaving out? Maybe think about why that is. And, change it.
VERONICA: Ok, bye for now. And thanks for helping us out.
RYAN: It was nothing. Thanks for saving my cat.
VERONICA: I was thanking Bridget.
GRUK: I am Gruk.
RYAN: Thanks for listening to this episode of Million Bazillion! If you want to know more about the wage gap, check out the tipsheet for this episode at our website, marketplace.org/million.
BRIDGET: You can also sign up for our newsletter while you’re there, and get next week’s episode delivered straight to your email inbox. It’s going to be our last episode of this season, and we’re gonna find out why there are so many of the same stores!
RYAN: Million Bazillion is brought to you by Marketplace, from American Public Media. This episode was written and hosted by (me,) Ryan Perez. Bridget Bodnar is my co-host and the director of podcasts at Marketplace.
BRIDGET: We had help with this episode and we want to thank Andrea Johnson from the National Women’s Law Center, and Dr. Dianne Hackett for sharing their expertise.
RYAN: And thanks to our friends who lent their voices for this episode: Kimberly Adams, Sabri Ben Achour, Courtney Bergsieker, Reema Khrais, Lily Jamali, Chris Julin, Jasmine Romero, Mel Rosenberg, Daniel Shin, and Catherine Winter.
BRIDGET: Million Bazillion’s producer is Marissa Cabrera. Jasmine Romero is our editor. Chris Julin is our sound designer. Brian Allison mixed this episode. Our theme music was created by Wonderly.
RYAN:Francesca Levy is the Executive Director of Digital at Marketplace. Neal Scarbrough is the VP and General Manager.
BRIDGET: Million Bazillion is funded in part by the Sy Syms Foundation, partnering with organizations and people working for a better and more just future since 1985. And special thanks to The Ranzetta Family Charitable Fund and Next Gen Personal Finance for providing the start-up funding for this podcast, and continuing to support Marketplace in our work to make younger audiences smarter about the economy.
RYAN: Million Bazillion is produced by Marketplace, which shares economic stories and voices from all communities, especially ones that are under-represented. It’s part of our public service journalism. And donations from YOU power that mission. So adults, take a moment today to support Marketplace and inclusive journalism. Go to Marketplace.org/givemillion. And thanks!
Post Credits Scene-
RYAN: What? Our driver cancelled?!? Ugh, so annoying.
(MUSIC: SUSPENSEFUL DRONE)
JEFF PAIN: Ryan.
RYAN: Yes, Jeff Pain.
JEFF PAIN: I got a question for you.
RYAN: Um, yes, Jeff Pain. Lemme guess, are you going to ask me to join the Vindicators?
JEFF PAIN: No, those foreign movie classics you were talking about earlier, I’d like to check some of them out- do you have a list?
RYAN: Oh yes, of course,
(SFX: LIST UNFURLS)
RYAN: Well first, you simply must see films of Jean Renoir: Grand Illusion, Boudu Saved From Drowning.
JEFF PAIN: Never seen it.
RYAN: And then Yasujiro Ozu’s Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice.
JEFF PAIN: Never seen it.
RYAN: Then there’s Jacques Demy, of course, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, gorgeous film-
JEFF PAIN: Never seen it.
RYAN: Oh, you’d love it, Jeff. YOU would love it! And Where Is the Friends House by Abbas Kiarostami, and let’s see, what else….
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