If you’ve ever been to Weight Watchers, you know that meetings are typically lead by one dedicated leader, whose role is to encourage women towards their weight loss goals. You might not know that the leaders are also responsible for ordering all the suppies, and handling the banking for the meetings. Taking that into consideration, those leaders are… really underpaid. Surprisingly underpaid. Tammy Williams, a leader who lost 97 pounds, told The New York Times:
“They know my love for the program, but I can’t say we’re treated right,” she said. “We are professionals, we have to dress nice, but we are paid less than kids who work at McDonald’s.”
How much is “less than kids who work at McDonald’s?” Around $7,600. A year. So, not a salary anyone in the world could live on, and that was when she made extra commission by selling books and smoothie mixes.
Some people, like Sharon Mastracci, claim that the low payment may in part be because most of the Weight Watcher leaders are female. The Times reports that:
Sharon H. Mastracci, an expert on women’s employment at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of “Breaking Out of the Pink-Collar Ghetto,” said these complaints parallel those in other fields with mostly female workers, like child care and social work.
“It’s a female-dominated job, it’s in the service industry, and it’s caring work,” Professor Mastracci said of Weight Watchers. “Caring work is undervalued, and they’re taking for granted that you care so much you’re going to be there no matter what.”
If this were some kind of nonprofit maybe the low payment would be understandable, but people pay $42 a month just to belong to Weight Watchers, and celebrities are paid millions by the company to lose weight. Observe:
Maybe we could do with a little less Jennifer Hudson and distribute some of the extra funds to the Tammy Williams of the program.