Friday March 18, 2016

The 'other' tax: Societal privilege and the cost of being different

According to Vivienne Ming's research, women in the U.S. tech industry face a social 'tax' of roughly $300,000.

According to Vivienne Ming's research, women in the U.S. tech industry face a social 'tax' of roughly $300,000. (Getty Images/Image Source)

Listen 8:30
Vivienne Ming Headshot Day in San Francisco

Vivienne Ming. (SRK Headshot Day)

Neuroscientist and big data specialist Vivienne Ming speaks to Laura Lynch about the social 'tax' that comes with being different — in other words, not a straight white male.

By her estimate, women in the U.S. tech industry face a lifetime opportunity cost of up to $300,000, while being a gay man in the U.K. can cost up to $54,000. 

"We are bad at valuing other people, and we are worse the more different they are than us." - Vivienne Ming 

Ming — who is herself transgender —  spent three years meticulously calculating the financial opportunity costs of social difference by gathering data from 100 different websites and coding 55,000 variables based on salary, occupation and other factors.