Tax on Being Different

To be equally likely to get that promotion, José needs a masters degree or higher compared to Joe with no degree at all. This means that, for similar work, José needs six additional years of education and all of the tuition and opportunity costs that education entails. This is the tax on being different, and for José that tax is $500,000-1,000,000 over his lifetime.
— V. Ming (2015) The Tax on Being Different

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find more exhaustive data analysis, there are just bits here and there.

“This tax comes in the form of advanced degrees, a number of extra years in lower positions and missed opportunities to earn.”
— V. Ming

Some quick data points I managed to find, all calculated apparently over a lifetime:

  • “It costs about $54k more to be a gay man in England”
  • “Women in the US tech industry pay a tax of between $100k-300k”
  • “Women in tech in HK or Singapore face an even steeper $800k-1.5m”

I’d also suggest to check this short video interview.


Thanks to Margherita for the link.

Author: Davide 'Folletto' Casali

Designing Product Experiences at Automattic · Advisor · Mentor · Speaker · Baker Framework Founder · ManifestoIbridi Author