The XX Factor
What Women Really Think

Oct. 6 2015 2:34 PM

In Chantal Akerman’s Films, Women’s Domestic Lives Are More Than Meets the Eye

The great feminist filmmaker Chantal Akerman, who died Tuesday in Paris at the age of 65, once made a movie in which the act of cooking potatoes achieves an almost unendurable significance.

The film was Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. The viewer’s agony is not due to boredom, as far too many critics complained of the 201-minute, 1975 film in which a widowed housewife and part-time prostitute does chores before a more-or-less fixed camera. And it’s not due to disappointment that, of all things, a boiled vegetable could be a woman’s last straw.


It’s almost unendurable because the difficulty of endurance is sort of the point of Jeanne, made when Akerman was just 25 years old. In Akerman’s work, everyday life, especially for women, and particularly for women in economic crises, is something to be borne. There’s more than meets the eye to a woman scrubbing and dusting—if only because for whom, after all, is she doing these chores? Part of the genius of Jeanne is to put a camera on her and basically not let it leave until the secrets come out; another part is that those secrets aren’t scandalous plot points, but the grief and tedium and reality of life itself. And it wasn’t just the feminist art-film world that responded to Jeanne Dielman: Filmmakers as varied as Todd Haynes, Gus van Sant, Sally Potter, and Michael Haneke found the kind of formal constraints she pioneered useful for their own explorations of sex, brutality, power, and sorrow. 

Born in Brussels in 1950, Akerman knew how much women could endure. Her grandparents were murdered at Auschwitz; her mother escaped with her life and told the tale in Akerman’s last film, No Home Movie, which premiered last year to a reception as hostile as any received over the course of her stormy career. Like most feminist artists, too much of Akerman's time was spent in struggle: for funding; for distribution and attention; and most of all, for the public to acknowledge that achieving technical brilliance and formal innovation in the service of a story about some housewife, or some sexy girl (2000’s La Captive), or a queer woman played by Akerman herself who lives only on sugar (her astonishing 1976 Je, Tu, Il, Elle) is itself a triumph of endurance against bad odds and the widespread belief that women’s domestic lives are, well, boring.

Akerman's early work resonates with durational films like Warhol's eight-hour single shot of the Empire State Building, Yoko Ono's long shots of people's asses, and Marina Abramovic's performances using limbs like clock hands. These artists all became more famous than Akerman perhaps in part because they used star power to counter (and complicate) their own ideas of endurance. Now, though, Akerman and Jeanne in particular seems less like minimalism and more like a link between, say, Virginia Woolf and Vine: In all the endless, sometimes tiresome footage of life as we live it, you can find humanity. Just wait and see.

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Oct. 6 2015 1:12 PM

All Washington, D.C., Residents May Get 16 Weeks of Paid Family Leave

A new bill introduced in the D.C. Council on Tuesday would make the District the first U.S. city to fund paid family and medical leave for nearly all its residents. It would mark a victory for the Obama administration, too—D.C. received a $96,000 grant from the Labor Department to help construct the plan, which stands to provide footing for future U.S. family-leave policies.

If the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015 passes, all full- and part-time workers who live in D.C. will be eligible for 16 weeks of paid leave for personal illness, to care for a sick family member, or to be with a new biological or adopted child. The funding pool will come from a new tax on private D.C. employers, which will pay between 0.6 and 1 percent of their employees’ salaries, on a progressive sliding scale. Employees who make up to $52,000 a year will continue to receive their entire salary during their leave; others will make $1,000 per week of leave plus half of their salary in excess of $52,000, up to $3,000 per week. The District can’t compel its largest employer, the federal government, to participate, but D.C.-residing federal employees and self-employed workers, plus District residents who work outside the city, can opt in with a contribution that will not exceed 1 percent of their salaries.


The legislation, which is likely to pass, was introduced by Councilmembers David Grosso and Elissa Silverman, who’d worked to raise D.C.’s minimum wage and get more paid sick days for restaurant workers before taking office in January. “The Obama administration has realized the action is on the state and local level, and they gave us the money to model how this could actually work,” Silverman told the Washington Post. The District used its grant to hire the Institute for Women’s Policy Research as a co-architect of the plan, the first major bill to come of the Labor Department’s efforts to push workers’ issues forward despite an unfriendly Republican-controlled Congress. Those grants will eventually total $2 million, levied in support of new family-leave laws in a dozen other states and municipalities.

Currently, only Rhode Island, New Jersey, and California guarantee any family leave for working residents. Rhode Island offers four weeks of partial pay, and New Jersey and California offer six, making the proposed D.C. plan a giant step toward the policies already enacted by some private employers—like the Gates Foundation, which just announced that it will offer a full year of paid leave—and nearly every other country in the world. A citywide leave pool means that entrepreneurs can start businesses without losing the ability to provide for themselves in a time of need, and workers can take jobs at small businesses that can’t afford to pay for leave on their own.

“This bill is fundamentally about D.C. families needing the time and resources to care,” said Joanna Blotner of Jews United for Justice’s Paid Family Leave Campaign, in a statement. “I had to leave my own father paralyzed in a hospital bed because that's what my work and finances demanded.” D.C. may be the example the country needs to finally address one of the biggest conflicts between work and family life.

Oct. 5 2015 6:58 PM

Julianna Margulies Should Own Her Animosity Against Archie Panjabi, Not Cry Sexism.  

Long-time watchers of The Good Wife, which began its seventh season Sunday night, know that star Julianna Margulies and supporting actress Archie Panjabi have not appeared in a scene together for years. When the plot requires their characters to interact, only the sorcery of split-screens can make it happen. It's generally assumed that a rift between Margulies and Panjabi is to blame for this weird feature of the show's space-time continuum. But at the New Yorker Festival last weekend, Margulies insisted to an interviewer that she and her coworker were totally fine. “There’s no animosity on my part,” she said. “It’s a shame, because I wonder if it was two men, when one finds out that he fucked his best friend’s wife, if it would get that same attention, you know what I mean?”

This dodge achieved two things: It left open the possibility that a less mature Panjabi might have issues with Margulies, and it indicted a curious public for its interest in the latest celebrity “cat fight.” Margulies implied that audiences were distorting her relationship with a colleague in order to indulge their hunger for lady conflict. 


Except, as Sam Adams points out on Indiewire, the notion that there is no feud, no sir, is a hand of bananas. Margulies explained that Panjabi could not film onset because she had prior commitments to The Fall, a BBC drama she signed onto last January. But Panjabi has been a member of the Good Wife cast since 2009, and that obligation would likely take priority; what's more, Panjabi only needed to find time to film a single Good Wife scene while also shooting a six-episode miniseries. That is very doable, so long as your co-star doesn’t hate your guts! Anyway, Panjabi swiftly tweeted this rebuttal:

So Margulies’ “no animosity” claim seems a bit suspect. It would be one thing if she did not want to discuss whatever (un)professional beef prevents her and Panjabi from being in physical proximity. But to accuse us of sexism when we wonder about an obvious tension is not only disingenuous—it's a disservice to the feminist cause she wants to drape over her shoulders. That is how you warm up the cold shoulders you present to your female co-stars: You wrap them in feminism.

Of course, the media habit of covering real or imagined fights between women as petty, gendered affairs needs to stop. Famous women are allowed to feel animosity without betraying the rest of us; they are even allowed to act like spoiled divas. But the Margulies v. Panjabi quarrel exists, it is unusual, and it has shaped the show's creative arc. Being curious about what happened isn’t sexist—it’s human. Perhaps our celebrity culture remains unkind to “emotional” ladies, but if Panjabi’s offenses truly warrant such an extreme response from Margulies, then Margulies should woman up and own her antagonism, not wave a sexism flag. It's harder to accept her or other pissed-off stars as complex humans unless they admit they aren’t perfect angels.  

Oct. 5 2015 5:27 PM

Shuttering Texas Abortion Clinics Means More Second-Term Abortions

The bill that Wendy Davis fought to kill in 2013 has created a crisis of abortion care in Texas. Since April of that year, when the state legislature started debate on the bill that requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges and meet the conditions of an ambulatory surgical center (ASC), more than half of abortion-providing facilities have either closed or ceased providing abortion care.

According to a study released today by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) at the University of Texas, wait times for abortions have spiked as 23 of 41 abortion options disappeared across the state. The state’s proportion of second-trimester abortions stands to increase as a result.


TxPEP has made monthly “mystery calls” to Texas abortion providers since HB2, the law that required facility physicians to have admitting privileges, went into effect in November 2013. The average time between an abortion-seeker’s first call to the facility and the first-available consultation appointment was steady in Dallas at five days or less until June of this year, when a clinic that provided 350-500 abortions per month closed. The next month, one of the two remaining abortion providers was so swamped, it was unable to schedule any new appointments at all, and wait times jumped to as long as 20 days. Facilities in Austin and Fort Worth have had to increase their wait times, too, though waits for providers in Houston and San Antonio have remained largely stable.

According to TxPEP, "If the wait time increased to 20 days [across the state], which is not unreasonable based on the findings from our mystery calls in Dallas and Ft. Worth, the proportion of abortions performed in the second trimester would increase from 10.5% to 19.5%."

The Supreme Court has ordered a stay on the second part of HB2, the ASC requirement, and the court may take it up this session. If the court doesn't strike it down, only 10 facilities in Texas would be able to continue providing abortions, putting almost double the demand on the state’s existing clinics. If that came to pass, TxPEP estimates that the average number of abortions performed per year in each Austin facility would more than double; in Houston, it would nearly triple.

“These clinics are barely able to serve the needs of women seeking services,” the study’s co-author, Daniel Grossman, told MSNBC. “So when one closes, like what happened in Dallas, we see that wait times increase. This is kind of a natural experiment for what is likely to happen if the ASC requirement goes into effect.”

Even in states where abortion providers are able to fully meet the demands of their patients, abortion is a time-sensitive endeavor. Second-trimester abortions are more expensive and carry a higher risk of medical complications than earlier ones. And in many states, an appointment is just the first step in a long, heavily legislated procedure. In Texas, an abortion-seeker must visit the abortion provider twice in more than 24 hours and listen to a doctor describe her fetus’s development during an ultrasound. If she can’t get into a clinic for the abortion in the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy, she can’t get an abortion in Texas at all. As the Supreme Court begins its new term today, it’s worth asking whether the right to choose means anything without a right to access.

Oct. 5 2015 4:18 PM

All the Most Hemingway Lines from a Ribald New Hemingway Memoir

The latest issue of Smithsonian magazine contains an excerpt from the forthcoming book Hemingway in Love: His Own Story, a memoir by Ernest Hemingway’s close friend A. E. Hotchner. Hotchner, a 95-year-old writer and editor, is perhaps best known for the 1966 biography Papa Hemingway, but in his new book, he has selected a narrower frame through which to consider the literary icon.

In 1961, just weeks before Hemingway’s suicide, Hotchner visited him in the psychiatric ward of St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn. There, Hotchner became the unwitting audience to an extended retelling of the story of the affair that destroyed Hemingway’s first marriage (to the devoted and well-to-do Hadley Richardson) and turned into his second marriage (to the glamorous journalist Pauline Pfeiffer). Hotchner had the presence of mind to whip out an audio recorder. Decades later, he still feels that these early romantic travails propelled both the turbulence of Hemingway’s life, and the blunt loneliness of his fiction; he sets out to tell the tale that he believes his friend “entrusted to me with a purpose.”


If the purpose of this tale is pathos and revelation, the effect on the reader—or at least on me—also includes a whole lot of gratitude that “Papa,” with his singular brand of pugilistic chauvinism, is no longer considered the paragon of literary manhood. I never thought I’d say it, but give me Jonathan Franzen any day.

What follows are the most Hemingway lines from the excerpt of this ribald new Hemingway memoir.

• Here’s the first thing Hemingway—or “Ernest,” as he’s referred to in the book—tells Hotchner about Pfeiffer:  “First impression? Small, flat-chested, not nearly as attractive as her sister.”

Here’s the first thing Hemingway tells him about Richardson: “Hadley was the only woman who mattered in my life, her full body and full breasts, hair long to her shoulders, long-sleeved dresses at her ankles, little or no jewelry or makeup. I adored her looks and the feel of her in bed, and that’s how it was.”

“Flat-chested” versus “full breasts”—I’d say that settles it!

• Hadley “lived her life loving the things I loved: skiing in Austria, picnics on the infield at the Auteuil races, staying up all night at the bicycle races at the Vélodrome, fortified with sandwiches and a thermos of coffee, trips to alpine villages to watch the Tour de France, fishing in the Irati, the bullfights in Madrid and Pamplona, hiking in the Black Forest.”

Whether Richardson would have “lived her life loving” these things because she herself loved them is, of course, immaterial. But FWIW, “Pauline wasn’t nearly as good as Hadley skiing or horseback riding, shooting, fishing, name it.”

• Yes, Papa strays, but it’s totally Pfeiffer’s fault. She liked to “corral” him for drinks. “She had the ‘I get what I want’ hubris of a very rich girl who won’t be denied.” He held out until he started writing The Sun Also Rises; that process was a “fever,” “an out-of-control brush fire that swept me into Pauline’s maw.”

• At first, double-dipping has its upsides. “[A]fter a really tough day writing, there’re two women waiting for me, giving me their attention, caring about me, women both appealing, but in different ways. … Stimulating, fires me up.”

As Hemingway told Scott Fitzgerald: “Hadley was simple, old-fashioned, receptive, plain, virtuous; Pauline up-to-the-second chic, stylish, aggressive, cunning, nontraditional.” They also differed in more private arenas: “Hadley submissive, willing, a follower. Pauline explosive, wildly demonstrative, in charge, mounts me. They’re opposites. Me in charge of Hadley and Pauline in charge of me.’”

• When Richardson leaves Hemingway, he remarks, “I had contrived this moment, but I felt like the victim.” Hemingway and Pfeiffer marry, then divorce: “I’ll tell you when I threw in the towel on Pauline… When she announced she was going to have another baby. The first one had made me bughouse and a second one, howling and spewing, would finish me off.” At one point, he asks Hotchner, “You ever loved two women at the same time?” Hotchner says he hasn’t. “Lucky boy,” says the poor, noble, ill-fated Hemingway.

Of course, anyone familiar with the Hemingway saga will know that he married twice more, to two more pioneering women journalists: fearless war reporter Martha Gellhorn and foreign correspondent Mary Welsh. Readers may be surprised to learn that, despite those passions, the writer seems to have spent the end of his life idealizing the beginning—the youthful sweetness of his first literary successes and first marriage.

What’s sadly not surprising is that—in Hotchner’s account and in history—the women who shared their lives with Papa, supporting his brilliance emotionally and financially, rarely get to speak. Hotchner’s book is “just one side of the story, Hemingway’s side,” Naomi Wood, who wrote a book about Hemingway through the eyes of his four wives, told The Guardian. “The love letters he sent to Pauline were just as emotional and sentimental and desiring as the ones sent to Hadley.” In fact, Pfeiffer, portrayed by Hemingway and Hotchner as a self-possessed temptress, is the most absent and agentless in the telling of history. Says Wood: “Hadley spoke to several of the biographers, Martha Gellhorn had her own status, and Mary wrote a memoir. Pauline is the only one who never has a say.” 

Oct. 2 2015 1:06 PM

Mouse Sperm May Hold the Key to a Male Birth Control Pill

A future where men might bear equal responsibility for pregnancy prevention just got a little closer. In a new study from Osaka University, scientists report that when they gave male mice a drug to inhibit a sperm-specific protein—one found in both mice and humans—the mice became infertile. When the mice stopped taking the drug, their fertility returned in just one week.

Scientists have figured for a while that the protein, calcineurin, was a crucial player in the male fertility game. But calcineurin exists in many forms in the testes, making it difficult to isolate the types that only affect sperm. Researcher Haruhiko Miyata and his colleagues identified the sperm-specific type of calcineurin and found that without it, the mouse’s sperm became ineffective without affecting the mouse’s capacity to get it up.


The drug’s effect on mouse sperm underscores just how weirdly lifelike sperm can be. Without proper calcineurin, a sperm cell can’t swim properly, and its midsection can’t bend enough to get through a mouse egg’s membrane. Even in vitro fertilization is impossible with these mutated sperm. In Miyata’s study, mice became infertile within four to five days of their first drug dose, which indicates that the protein affects developing sperm cells, not mature ones.

Seventeen percent of U.S. women take oral contraceptives, which have long been the most common birth control method in the country, barely edging out sterilization. Vasectomies remain a popular and nearly 100 percent effective form of male birth control, but a pill would be far less invasive and perfect for temporary or intermittent use. Giving people who produce sperm the opportunity to take charge of their own birth control—and giving women a break or a backup—would mark a huge step forward for gender equity in pregnancy prevention. And a pill that works by inhibiting a sperm-specific protein would be a lot less of a pain than today’s oral contraceptives, which mess with hormones that can affect the entire body.

Oct. 1 2015 4:00 PM

Catholic Hospitals Refuse Health Care to Pregnant Women. So the ACLU Is Suing. 

Under strict religious directives, Catholic hospitals refuse to help a woman carry out a miscarriage until the fetal heartbeat stops on its own. They also prevent doctors from performing tubal ligation—also known as getting your tubes tied—even if the procedure would benefit the woman’s health.

On behalf of women denied care in the name of those directives, the American Civil Liberties Union announced that it is suing Trinity Health Corporation, one of the largest Catholic health systems in the country. The formal complaint is based on the health system’s “repeated and systematic failure to provide women suffering pregnancy complications with appropriate emergency abortions as required by federal law,” according to an ACLU press release.


“We’re taking a stand today to fight for pregnant women who are denied potentially life-saving care because doctors are forced to follow religious directives rather than best medical practices,” Brooke A. Tucker, an ACLU of Michigan attorney, said in a release.

Those directives are set by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which consider abortion and sterilization “intrinsically evil.” Catholic hospitals, which constitute more than 12 percent of hospitals in the U.S., have applied those rules to women in life-threatening circumstances.

One of those women is Jessica Mann, whose Michigan Catholic hospital refused to perform a tubal ligation despite recommendations from her doctors. Mann has a dangerous brain tumor, and getting pregnant again could pose serious health threats. In September, ACLU of Michigan sent a letter to the hospital urging them to reconsider the refusal. The hospital stood by their decision, citing the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Facilities.

“Rejecting us seems arbitrary and cruel,” Mann’s husband wrote in an essay published on Refinery 29.

In December 2013, ACLU sued the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf on Tamesha Means, whose water broke when she was 18 weeks pregnant. Instead of terminating the pregnancy and safely completing the miscarriage, Means said the Catholic hospital gave her false hope that the fetus could survive. After getting sent home twice, enduring “excruciating pain,” and developing an infection, Means finally miscarried the fetus in a painful, prolonged delivery, according to the lawsuit. That case is currently on appeal.

Oct. 1 2015 3:38 PM

What We Learned from the Arizona Diamondbacks Sorority Selfie Scandal 

Wednesday a group of Arizona State University students attended an Arizona Diamondbacks game and taught us all a powerful lesson. It was the bottom of the fourth inning, the Arizona Diamondbacks were down one run to the Colorado Rockies, and as a Diamondback prepared to bunt, a television camera roved the stands in search of a more interesting visual. Because the students were young white women with long, bleached hair and the kind of sports apparel that is specially cut “for her,” the camera chose them.

Two Diamondbacks broadcasters urged fans to take photos of themselves and submit them for consideration in the T-Mobile Data Strong® Fan of the Game competition. The students complied. They held out their arms and turned their cellphone cameras on themselves. One student positioned a churro next to her mouth. Snap. Another stuck out her tongue. Snap. A third sucked in her cheeks. Snap.


“Look at the one on the right,” one Diamondbacks announcer said.

Do you have to make faces when you take selfies?” asked a second Diamondbacks announcer.

“Wait, one more now,” said the first.

“Oooh-yoo-yoo-yoo-yoo,” said the second.

“Better angle. Check it. Did that come out OK?”

“That’s the best one of the 300 pictures of myself I’ve taken today.”

“Every girl in the picture is locked into her phone. Every single one is dialed in. Welcome to parenting in 2015! They’re all just completely transfixed by technology.”

The camera cut to the baseball game for three seconds, then returned to the stands.

“Oh, hold on. Gotta take a selfie with a hot dog. Selfie with a churro. Selfie ... just of a selfie.”

“I can’t even get my phone to take pictures.”

“Took a picture of your thumb last week. That was good.”

“Here’s my first bite of the churro. Here’s my second bite of the churro.”

The camera cut to the baseball game for five seconds—base hit—then returned to the stands.

“And nobody noticed.”


“Help us, please. Somebody help us.”

“Can we do an intervention? How about if we send Baxter out there”—Baxter is a person dressed as a cat dressed like a person—“and he collects all of the phones? You're not getting them back until the end of the game!”

What have we learned today? Men like to look at young women. Young women like to look at themselves. Men don't like it when young women look at themselves. But they don't dislike it enough to stop looking at them when they're looking at themselves.

Oct. 1 2015 2:30 PM

Elizabeth Warren Has Fighting Words for GOP on Planned Parenthood

Elizabeth Warren has been a reliable proponent of both reproductive justice and incredulous zingers. In August, the Massachusetts senator expressed concern over the mental health of her cohorts who’d threatened to shut down the government if the federal budget included funding for Planned Parenthood: “Do you have any idea what year it is?” Warren asked. “Did you fall down, hit your head, and think you woke up in the 1950s or the 1890s? Should we call for a doctor?”

In a live interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper at the Atlantic’s Washington Ideas Forum Thursday morning, Warren was in similarly fine form. She stepped around several questions on who she plans to endorse for president (“I’m pretty sure it won’t be a Republican”), threw shade at trickle-down economics, and commented on Donald Trump and Jeb Bush’s support for closing the carried interest loophole that enriches hedge-fund managers (“Even when your ears are stuffed with money, you get a little sound that comes through”).


She also had a few choice words for Republicans who’ve prioritized defunding Planned Parenthood over any other budget negotiations:

It just seems to me that is so out of touch with reality—it’s so out of touch with what it means to govern this country, that they think they’ve got to argue something so they can try to move women back to 1955, that that’s first on their agenda. And they’re just wrong on this. And they’re gonna be in real trouble over it.

Tapper asked her later about the Center for Medical Progress’ heavily edited videos on fetal tissue donation: “Is there nothing on those videotapes that even bothers you at all?”

“Let’s remember what we were debating on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and that was defunding Planned Parenthood,” Warren replied. “It was not, you know, let’s do a review of videotapes. It was defunding Planned Parenthood. And so we have to start by remembering what that means.”

Warren cited statistics on the health care services Planned Parenthood delivers to 2.7 million people every year, many of whom don’t have access to any other health care providers. After breaking down how much of that care is abortion-related (3 percent), she went on:

Make no mistake—what this is really about is about women’s access to abortion. And even though not one federal dollar goes to pay for abortions through Planned Parenthood, the Republicans want to find one more way to make it harder—to make it impossible—for a woman who is facing one of the most difficult decisions of her life, they want to find a way to make it harder on her to get the health care she needs. And all I can say is we’ve been in that world before. When I talk about 1955, I’m talking about a world where women died. I’m talking about a world where women committed suicide rather than go forward with a pregnancy they could not handle. And what the Republicans are saying is that they want us to go back. And I want to make it clear that we’re not going back, Not now, not ever.

“It’s too bad they’re not doing a straw poll here,” Tapper said when the audience applause died down. Warren continued:

I’m going to tell you something. We are doing a straw poll. It’s called the 2016 elections. And the Republicans out there, if they want to run on shutting down women’s access to cancer screenings, and shutting down women’s access to birth control, and shutting down women’s access to not-government-paid-for abortions, then they’re gonna have a real fight on their hands. Let ’em do it.

Watch Warren’s full statement:

Oct. 1 2015 12:42 PM

Sorry, House GOP, but Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards Makes an Average Salary

At Tuesday’s congressional hearing on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, when Republicans weren’t repeating bogus claims about selling fetal tissue or talking over CEO Cecile Richards’ testimony, they were feigning horror at her salary. The chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Utah’s Jason Chaffetz, noted that Richard’s annual compensation had topped half a million dollars in recent years. Later, referring to Planned Parenthood's revenues, endowment, and fundraising, Wyoming Rep. Cynthia Lummis quipped, “You make a ton of dough.” 

New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney came to Richards’ defense: “The entire time I've been in Congress I've never seen a witness beaten up and questioned about their salary,” she said. What’s more, a quick look at Richards’ peers puts her salary in perspective: As far as income goes, she’s just about average among her peers. With an annual take of $524,000, Richards ranks 19th among 38 heads of health care nonprofits with revenue comparable to Planned Parenthood’s.


It’s worth noting, too, that all but two of the CEOs who make more than Richards are men.* How kind of House Republicans to grant us this opportunity to shine a light on the nonprofit gender wage gap. (Click to enlarge the chart below.)

Cecile Richards Planned Parenthood Salary

Holly Allen/Slate

Correction, Oct. 1, 2015: This post originally misstated that all but one of comparable CEOs who make a higher salary than Cecile Richards are men; it is all but two.

Correction, Oct. 5, 2015: This chart originally listed Centegra Health System's Michael S. Eesley as the top-earning CEO; Eesley should not have made the list, as Centegra's revenue is far greater than the other organizations listed.