New York Times sacked its first-ever female executive editor Jill Abramson on Wednesday in a development that highlights the income disparity between male and female executives in the US city — and elsewhere.
Abramson, considered as one of the world’s most powerful women, was fired allegedly after she complained that she was earning much less than her male predecessors.
Newspaper publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. told the editorial team that Abramson was being replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet, Apple Daily reported Friday.
In explaining the decision, Sulzberger said the management of the editorial department could be improved, and stressed the action had nothing to do with newspaper’s editorial policy and digital development, according to the report.
The New Yorker magazine, however, cited a close friend of Abramson’s as saying that she had confronted senior management after finding that her pay and benefits were considerably less than what former executive director Bill Keller used to get, Apple Daily said.
There could be other reasons. In a report that appeared in the US political journalism newspaper Politico last year, Abramson was described as stubborn, arrogant and difficult to work with. She joined the 163-year-old newspaper in 1997 and took the helm less than three years ago.
Still, the case casts a harsh light on the issue of unequal pay resulting from gender discrimination in many companies worldwide.
In Hong Kong, the issue is real, although it remains underneath the surface. As of the last quarter of 2013, the median monthly income was HK$15,000 for men and HK$12,000 for women, according to the latest Quarterly Report on General Household Survey published by the government. (The data excludes foreign domestic helpers, who are mostly women and whose salary is below the minimum wage.)
In the high-income group, which covers financing, insurance, real estate, professional and business services, earnings were placed at HK$16,000 for men and HK13,000 for women.
The biggest gap is seen among those working in the export, import and wholesale sectors, with men making HK$20,000 and women receiving HK$13,500 a month.
Female workers out-earn their male counterparts only in one category, namely “transportation, storage, postal and courier services, information and communications”. They make HK$13,000 a month on average, HK$1,000 more than men get.
– Contact us at [email protected]