Equal Pay For Equal Work: The Issue Of Gender Wage Gap
In 2019, women get paid 79 cents to a man’s dollar for the same work. For women of color, this wage gap is even wider in comparison to a white man. It is assumed by many people, more specifically men, that don’t find this pay gap as evidence of discrimination. This is besides the fact that more women have joined the workforce as well as achieving more of an education. When the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, women working full-time jobs were paid 59 cents on average for each dollar that was paid to men. If women were paid at the same rate as men, it would benefit us in many ways that begin with more opporunities in the career we choose to work in. Looking back at US history, women had no say or right to speak their minds on the issues that affected them.
It wasn’t until Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton arranged the first women’s rights convention in 1848 with the support of abolitionists. Many former slaves were given the opportunity to speak on their own experience of how race and gender were inseparable. At one of the women’s conventions, former slave Sojourner Truth provided a speech that talked about her claim on how women don’t need the support or protection of men to succeed. She goes on to describe the things she does in her everyday life that are possible without the help or assistance of men.
However, in the class textbook titled “Unequal sisters”, edited by Vicki L. Ruiz with Ellen Carol Dubois states that “Scientists who investigated brain size and structure regulated both women and lower races, such as Africans, to the bottom rungs of human hierarchy.” That statement was said to have been investigated in the 1830s-1930s. Furthermore in an article called, “Rep. Deb Haaland: Native American women are paid far less than white men- here’s a way to fix it” mentions how Native women are at the bottom of the list regarding pay inequality. This goes to show that women of all races have their own disadvantage when it comes to the gender pay gap and rights. It is stated that compared to white men, Native women abruptly only make 58 cents on the dollar in the same working position. This not only is unacceptable but impacts many factors that women around the world face such as health care, education, childcare, and much more. For example, daycare expenses for one child are about $3,000 and $6,000 for two children, that is if you qualify for a tax credit according to an article titled, “Deducting Summer Camps and Daycare with the Child and Dependent Care Credit.”
It is also stated that the U.S. does not hold employers accountable for the unequal pay. As mentioned in the article ”Rep. Deb Haaland:Native American women are paid less than white men- here’s a way to fix it” says, “Instead, the burden is placed on women to negotiate for their wage, when we know men walk into the workplace with higher offers and advantaged for no other reason than the fact that they were born men.” That being said it puts women and women of color at a disadvantage that we are forced to live with. It is especially hard for single working mothers that tend to get overwhelmed with such a workload in order to provide food for their children. It’s aggravating to know that the men in our government system don’t have an issue with the fact that women MUST work harder to not only provide for their children but also living for themselves. That same article also goes on to mention that, “In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would address loopholes in the law that allow employers to pay women less than men for the same job.” Instead of enforcing pay equitably, the men that control our government still chose to make their gender superior while women struggle and suffer to make ends meet, hence how we have yet had a female president.
Regrettably, that is the society we live in, where gender roles are enforced since the day we are born. Gender has become a part of our daily lives where there’s a strict distribution of how women and men are supposed to act and be treated. Women are often born into the role of performing household chores such as taking care of children, have food on the table, and staying at home while also being the punch bag for their husband. On the other had men are born into an instant advantage of doing and taking whatever they want with no consequences whatsoever. This concept is common in many regions around the world, whether it may be a cultural thing or not, it is always a norm that is followed. For instance, in the article from the class titled “Women’s Lives Multicultural Perspectives” by Gwyn Kirk and Margo Okazaway-Rey says, “In different regions of southern India, for example, harvesting rice is men’s work, shared work, or women’s work: Whatever a task is done by women it is considered easy, and where it is done by [men] it is considered difficult.” It’s sad to know that no work is ever given credit for unless it is done by a man.
After consulting with a former colleague of mine, it is believed that women shouldn’t get paid more due to the fact that we are given maternity leave when being pregnant. Being that my colleague is a man, he didn’t take into account that maternity leave is only 6 weeks of our lives. He also didn’t know that not every woman can conceive. I also had another colleague that expressed the same belief however she was a woman. She was raised in a strict and more cultural household where each gender had their own role to play whether that is being a stay at home mom or the working husband, she had no issue with women getting paid less due to the fact that she depending so much on her husband. That is a privilege not all women have, and not all women are born into such wealthy families like my colleagues.
That being said, many women like myself are raised into the lifestyle that you must work for what you want. However, with that, woman’s work is usually seen as less valuable than a man’s. If you depend on a man to give you the things you desire, he can quickly take it all away. They can also use it as a way to manipulate and advantage of you. For instance, my aunty suffered through a very abusive relationship with the father of her kids and was forced to stay with him due to the fact that he brought the money in the house. He convinced her to become a stay at home mom while he drank away all the money they needed for rent and other household utilities. She had no way of escaping him because she had no income, it wasn’t until after all the physical and emotional abuse she decided to get a job as a way to support herself and her children. Getting out of that toxic environment and building a life on her own was what motivated her to look for a job herself, that is when she also decided to return back to school to get her B.A. for the well paying job she wanted.
In conclusion, when women become independent and financially stable they are able to escape the violence they are forced to deal with at home. For Native women who are murdered at a higher national rate of domestic violence, equal pay can be the first step to end that unfortunate cycle. I believe that the thought of women talking a bigger role than men frightens them. For the same reason why a female has yet to become president due to the fact that she would immediately reflect on the major issues such as equal pay, healthcare, and women’s rights that have been unaddressed for so long. If we are a nation that believes that hard work and perseverance delivers the “American Dream” then we should take in the factors that are stacked against women over the country and do something about it.
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