Listen: Lawsuit Against Boston Symphony Orchestra Exposes Extensive Gender Pay Gap
"Support for this podcast and the following message. Come from internet essentials from Comcast. Connecting more than six million low income people to low cost high speed internet at home. So students are ready for homework class graduation and more. Now, they're ready for anything. It is. No secret women, sometimes get paid less than men for doing the exact same job on average women earn a earned eighty two cents for every dollar a man earned in two thousand seventeen. That's according to Pew Research. And it's not just pay women are less likely to be in positions of leadership a new lawsuit against the Boston symphony. But the spotlight about how this disparity shows up in the world of classical music reporter, Jeff edges has been following this and his story appears today in the Washington Post and Jeff joins us now. Good morning. Thank you for having me who is suing the Boston symphony. And why well Elizabeth Rowe who is the principal flutist is suing the Boston Symphony Orchestra because she feels that she's not being paid fairly. And she feels that that's based on the fact that she's. A woman so she's raising this idea of gender gender disparity or gender pay gap in the orchestra world. And it's never have. You know, this lawsuit is the first of its kind. What's the basis for her claim? What is she point to? Well, she was hired by the BSO fourteen years ago, and the fellow who plays next door who she loves as a musician, and friend principal oboe has John Carrillo from the start. She knew he was earning a lot more than she was. And it's very over the years, but in general, it's been about seventy thousand dollars. So she just sat there playing with him, and they played together on almost everything they call it the flow, Bo, the flute and the oboe together. And but finally she felt like she wasn't getting really taken seriously and filed the suit in July. What is the Boston symphony said about well, the symphony has defended its pay structure, and they're saying that the flute and the oboe are not comparable. And I, you know, somebody who can tap out a little bit of something on a piano, any instrument to me as mysterious and mystical, but they say the oboe more difficult to play and they say. That there are fewer great oboe us in the in the pool the countries that it makes it a more marketable instrument, but I will say that that is not science what what assigned say well there. There's no way of knowing you know, what how do you value? What somebody does for a living. And you know, I it's very very complicated. I mean, many people who've studied how women and men are paid say one of the greatest ways to devalue job as have women become the predominant. People who do that job? And you know, the flu. Do it. It is devalued its paid less. Exactly. But you know, Elizabeth Rowe has been the featured soloist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra more than any other principal musician and the principles are the stars the starting lineup. I guess you'd say sports analogies aren't great in this. But she is a star. And you know, she's sitting there and just feels like she's not being treated fairly in that way. So let me ask you just briefly. I mean, the salaries in these in this case is already credible quite high. I mean, you say, it's a seventy thousand dollar gap. But we're talking about a quarter of a million dollars a year. It doesn't seem like a big deal. But presumably it would set a precedent for other musicians who make far less. What's the upshot of all this? Well, I think she's uncomfortable with being public about this took me weeks to get her to talk to me. But she also sees as a larger issue really that. You know? Yes, I earn quite well for being in a job. That's my dream job. But there's a structure here. I mean, we analyzed how women are paid in orchestras, and it's clear out. Of the top seventy eight paid players in the country, only fourteen or women, and that's in orchestras that are made up of you know, forty percent women. So there's something wrong here. And I think she's hoping to correct it. All right. Jeff Edger for the Washington Post. You can read more on his story later today on their website. Thanks so much. We appreciate it. Thank you."