February 24, 2015

Equal Pay for Women

By now you must have heard about Patricia Arquette's Oscar's night speech, where she says:

“We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

Everyone has an opinion on what she said the other night. Some disagree with her, others have picked on certain words she said or didn't say. Some have indicated that she wasn't specific enough or that her facts were incorrect. Really? You really want to pick on someone who is doing the right thing? Someone who sheds light on women inequality?

Since when is it wrong for women to ask for equality? I am a feminist, and being a feminist is somehow looked down upon in our society. Feminism is not man bashing, feminism is advocating and believing in women equality and women rights.

Whatever your opinion may be, first, respect that she took the time to bring attention to an issue for women.  As an actress, she has a spotlight that others do not have and she used that moment to call attention to an issue that women have been fighting for years, too many years. Don't ridicule her, but applaud her.

Something else you might have heard is that pay inequality is just a myth. For those who think it is just a myth please just read some data from AAUW's The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2015) , the Pew Research Study, and Explaining the Gender Wage Gap.

First, let me start by saying that women are closer to equal pay with men until they reach the age of 35, making 90 percent of when men are paid, that's 90 cents for every $1.00 men make.

To some, the difference is not as wide, as the reported 75 percent, however, there is a difference and that is why we are calling out to inequality. Why should men be paid more than women at all?  I don't care if the difference was 2 pennies, there is a difference.

And to top it all off, after the age of 35 women are typically paid 75-80 percent of what men are paid.

And don't even get me started on different ethnicities. Women of color have even a wider gap. For example, Hispanic women’s salaries have the largest gap, at 54 percent of Caucasian men’s earnings. You might be wondering why Caucasian men are the ones used benchmarks, well that is because they make up the largest demographic group in the labor force (AAUW). But in general, women are paid less than all men, whether they share the same ethnicity or not.

There are certain jobs that women are paid more than men, such as Aircraft, Vehicle, and Mobile Equipment Mechanics, Construction Supervisors, Information and Record Clerks, and Occupational Therapists. (Goudreau, 2011)

These gaps in pay are for men and women in the same type of job and with the same experience.  "A 2012 report by the American Association of University Women found that after controlling for occupation, college major, hours worked, employment sector and other factors related to a person's pay, the gender wage gap shrunk but did not entirely disappear." (Basset, 2013)

I also think this has a lot to do with the psychology and socialization of women. Studies have found that women are less likely to ask for more money when they start a position and ask for a raise later on, while men are more likely to ask (Kang, 2014). Some women are uncomfortable asking for more, don't want to be perceived a certain way because they ask for more, and worry that they might lose their jobs or be seen unfavorably that if they do. "Women often feel uncomfortable touting their accomplishments themselves because they've been socialized to be modest, humble and "act like ladies" -- demurely shying away from publicly acknowledging their achievements." (Berman, 2014)

If you are going to take one thing from this: know your value and know your worth. Men and women are equal, we should be treated the same and paid the same for the same type of work, same hours, same education, and same experience. Research and find out how much you should be paid, and don't be afraid to ask for it. Women do incredible things everyday, and they should be respected and treated fairly and equal to other women and men.

And women, I can't stress it enough, but get your education. The further you educate yourself the more opportunities you will have. There are more women in college right now receiving their bachelor's degree than men. One of the most empowering things you will ever do for yourself is to educate yourself.

Bassett, Laura. September 9, 2013. Women Still Earned 77 Cents On Men's Dollar In 2012: Report.

Berman, Jillian. January 21, 2014. Why It's So Hard For Working Women To Get Ahead, And What We Can Do About It .

Glynn, Sarah Jane. May 19, 2014. Explaining the Gender Wage Gap.

Goudreau, Jenna. March 14, 2011. The 15 Jobs Where Women Earn More Than Men.

Hill, Catherine. The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2015).

Kang, Cecilia.  April 2, 2014. Google data-mines its approach to promoting women.

Patten, Eileen. April 8, 2014. On Equal Pay Day, key facts about the gender pay gap.

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