E! News host quits after discovering giant gender pay gap

"How can I remain silent when my rights under the law have been violated?"

Credit: Photo by Donald Traill/Invision/AP)
Credit: Photo by Donald Traill/Invision/AP)

Television host Catt Salder announced Wednesday that she will be leaving E! News after 12 years, upon learning her male co-host earns double her salary.

In a post on her personal blog, Sadler wrote she discovered the pay discrepancy while negotiating the contract with the network. She had suspected a pay disparity existed after an executive brought it to her attention, but had no idea just how large the gap was. Her co-host Jason Kennedy was earning close to double what Sadler made for what she describes as “doing essentially similar jobs, if not the same job.”

“Know your worth. I have two decades experience in broadcasting and started at the network the very same year as my close friend and colleague that I adore. I so lovingly refer to him as my ‘tv husband’ and I mean it,” wrote Sadler in her statement. “But how can I operate with integrity and stay on at E if they’re not willing to pay me the same as him? Or at least come close? How can I accept an offer that shows they do not value my contributions and paralleled dedication all these years? How can I not echo the actions of my heroes and stand for what is right no matter what the cost? How can I remain silent when my rights under the law have been violated?”

“It’s almost insulting because you know you work really hard,” she told People magazine. “I’m a single mom of two kids. I’ve given my all to this network. I’ve sacrificed time away from my family and I have dedicated my entire career to this network. And when you learn something like that, it makes you feel very small and underappreciated and undervalued. It’s heartbreaking.”

In a statement to People, the network stated they compensate their employees “fairly and appropriately based on their roles, regardless of gender.”

Sadler’s story is yet another example of how the gender wage gap persists in 2017; furthermore, the gap is not entirely the result of job choices and hours worked, as some economists suggest.

There are a number of factors that go into the gender wage gap. About 20 percent of it is due to the fact that women often end up in jobs and industries that pay less. But it’s not just that women choose to work in lower paid fields; when a large number of women start to enter a job that has traditionally been held by men, the pay drops. Women are also more likely to interrupt their careers with family planning or cut back hours.

There is, however, a sizable part of the gender pay gap that can’t be explained by various factors  – and that’s where Sadler’s story fits in. Women make less than men in every industry and in virtually every occupation. Even women with the exact same jobs as men earn less. The answer for this may simply be that the work women do is undervalued.