The Week in Women: Closing the wage gap (sort of), a financial scandal, and a “hideous” Australian banknote

Stacks of the new Australian $5 note, which comes into circulation on September 1, 2016. It may be the smallest denomination note, but the design attracted an outsized amount of criticism. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

It was Equal Pay Day on April 12, so we’ve had money — and the lack thereof — on our minds. This week’s headlines were all about the moolah, from a financial scandal in Brazil to a rather ugly Australian banknote. Let’s take a look back:

Both Facebook and Microsoft announced on Equal Pay Day that they have achieved gender pay equity — or pretty close to it — among their employees. Microsoft said it had practically eliminated the pay gap, with women at the company earning 99.8 cents on the dollar for every male colleague, compared to the national average of 78 cents. And Lori Matloff Goler, VP of People (apparently a real job) at Facebook wrote in a post: “We complete thorough statistical analyses to compare the compensation of men and women performing similar work. I’m proud to share that at Facebook, men and women earn the same.” Glad to hear that all employees of the company can now buy an equitable quantity of t-shirts and hoodies.

Things aren’t going quite so well over in the world of women’s soccer. Members of the U.S. women’s soccer team, which filed a wage-discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last month, have hinted that they might consider a strike or even boycott of the Olympics this year if they don’t see their demands met. The players’ complaint addresses pay inequality and other discrimination issues, like the fact that — in contrast to the men’s team — they are regularly asked to play games on artificial turf. So yes, it’s 2016 and women athletes have to fight for equal pay and actual living grass. What a world.

Brazil’s beleaguered president Dilma Rousseff, who is embroiled in a financial scandal, has taken to the Supreme Court in a last-ditch effort to avoid an impeachment vote. Rousseff’s attorney asked the top court for an injunction to suspend a lower house Congressional vote that seeks to remove her from office for allegedly window-dressing government finances ahead of the 2014 election. If Rousseff loses the aforementioned vote — and it seems likely that she will — she faces a Senate trial on charges of breaking budget laws. And you thought you were having a bad week.

The new Australian $5 note is causing a major upset, and not just because it’s considered by many to be “the most hideous banknote in history.” The bill’s new design has replaced a portrait of Catherine Helen Spence — the Australian author, suffragist, journalist, preacher, politician, and all-around Renaissance woman — with an image of the nation’s Parliament House, “a lump of neo-brutalist architecture,” as an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald put it. The design was launched just as Justin Trudeau promised to include a woman in Canada’s next issue of banknotes, making the Prime Minister look even more like a ray of human sunshine.

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