Maclean’s Magazine, an already controversial publication by StFX standards due to its constant ranking of the university and its party culture, has just gotten a whole lot more controversial. Their March 2018 issue has been created with two different versions. The content of the magazine is identical in every way, however one version has a cover that reads “Men pay 6.99 8.81 for this magazine” while the other reads “Women pay 6.99 8.81 for this magazine”, with a barcode for each price that is either covered or revealed with the corresponding price point.
Maclean’s anticipated upset around their decision, and for obvious reasons; why is it okay to offer the same product but at a difference of 1.82, based on the sole qualification of gender? It seems ridiculous and sexist to apply this principle and disadvantage a distinct group arbitrarily. And it is right that it seems this way, because that was exactly the purpose of Maclean’s in doing this.
Below the prices is a statement of intent surrounding the issue, which reads, “The prices reflect the shocking 26 per cent pay equity gap that still exists in Canada.” MacLean’s created the issue with separate prices in order to firmly call attention to the pay disparity that exists between men and women.” Inside is an article explaining their position on the point, however the purpose of the issue was not just to educate, but to provoke. It was not enough for Maclean’s to include information on the subject; rather, they wanted to create real change by giving readers the lived experience of what it means to have a difference in pay. A difference in earnings leads to a difference in purchasing power, reflected in the different prices on offer.
The internal article explaining their position on the matter, cites the #MeToo movement and how impactful it has been. Maclean’s views the pay equity gap as the next obstacle to tackle as part of this viral thread.
And Maclean’s isn’t the first group to highlight this disparity, as they themselves note.
According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, there is cause for such demonstrations to take place. As of 2014, Canada was the country with the 7th highest gender wage gap. Traditional “women’s work” tends to pay less, and women are more likely to work part-time jobs, contributing to this figure. However, about 10-15 per cent of the wage gap is attributed to discrimination.
Maclean’s, in creating this very noticeable issue, starkly contrasted in black and yellow, calls attention to this extremely relevant topic. As their article concludes, women should expect nothing less than to receive equal pay for equal work. Maclean’s is merely attempting to bring greater attention to women’s worthy cause.