Artist News

Jack White helps launch Council For Gender Equality in Nashville

By | Published on Thursday 14 July 2016

Jack White

That there Jack White has joined a Council For Gender Equality in Nashville, a committee set up with the task of providing the city’s mayor Megan Berry with “data-informed recommendations and advice to address systemic differences in benefits and opportunities that might be unfairly provided to one gender but not another”.

Joining Berry at the launch of the new initiative, White, whose Third Man Records business is based in Nashville, said: “In my life in the arts, I have always considered it unfair when producing a record, for example, that a drummer would be paid less than a singer, simply because that singer had an agent or representative. They are both creating regardless of their instrument or even their experience. They should be paid the same”.

“Now wouldn’t it be just as ridiculous to pay two fiddle players a different wage because one of them is male and one is female? I think so. It is embarrassing that in 2016 there are any differences in benefits or wages between genders in our society. Gender equity is something that should’ve been solved a century ago worldwide, and it is sad that we even need to address it. If the person does the work, the benefits of doing that work should be equal among all human beings”.

Talking about his own business, he went on: “As owner of the record label Third Man Records, with locations in both Nashville and Detroit, I am proud to say that since 2013 all employees of my record label have had a minimum wage of fifteen dollars an hour, regardless of gender. I encourage small businesses to do the same, it is possible. You wont go broke. A person shouldn’t need two jobs just to have food and shelter. And if small businesses like mine can do this, billion dollar businesses like Walmart can do it as well”.

He then outlines the benefits his staff receive, which are pretty decent in the context of the US, and include health insurance, six months paid maternity leave and three months paid paternity leave. Again he says: “If my small company can enact these ideas, then so can McDonalds and General Motors”.

Expanding onto other issues of the moment Stateside, he went on: “I also must stress that the labels of gender and sexuality are completely up to the individual and not the people who employ them, or the government. If a person is born into a different scenario or a different type of physical body, they shouldn’t be treated in any degrading fashion. If they choose to represent themselves as transgender or gender neutral even, it should not effect their wages or benefits or how they are treated by other human beings”.

You can read the full speech here.