One Dollar = 77 Cents?

One Dollar = 77 Cents?

By Tracy Madlener

Listening to NPR the other day, the topic of equal pay came up and I instantly turned up the radio in my car.  I don’t know what I was expecting to hear but after tuning in, I really didn’t learn anything new.  It’s the same ole same ole and women still aren’t equally compensated for doing their jobs, but I guess it’s a good thing that it is at least being talked about and in the air waves.  When I heard the names of some of the politicians that don’t support the Paycheck Fairness Act, my gut reaction was to call these people horrible names like they’re sitting in my passenger seat while I’m driving, but I don’t because instead of them, my youngest is sitting there instead.  As I mumble some words to myself, my passenger looks over at me and says, “You mean to tell me that if you’re a girl you only get 77 cents out of a dollar when getting paid?  That doesn’t seem fair!”  Ahhh, out of the mouth of babes…

 

Is this what it really boils down to?

Is this what it really boils down to?

It isn’t fair and I don’t understand why this type of change is taking so long.  Women work, vote, pay taxes, own homes, raise children, do the majority of the household shopping, and yet even with all these different responsibilities, women are only worth 77 cents?  And if you’re a black or Latina woman, the gap increases even more. I thought we lived in a modern day society but equality for women seems to be stuck in a time warp.  To be treated as an equal should be as natural as breathing, but fairness seems to be a word that is not always defined by the dictionary, but by the beholder of the word and if they are in politics… well, they have their own dictionary.

 

How do we change this way of thinking so that my youngest doesn’t have to work twice as hard as her male colleagues?  When talking to most people, it seems so obvious… pay people for what they are worth no matter what sex, what color, what religion… if they are doing their job, why would an employer pay them less for being a woman?  Oh, I KNOW!  Because women don’t speak up, because if we did, then we wouldn’t get the job (that is desperately needed) based on being a troublemaker!  And so goes the endless circle of inequality.

 

We all play a role in making sure equal pay for equal work is a reality

We all play a role in making sure equal pay for equal work is a reality

To make a change in the wage gap or any other women’s issues, we need to be informed on which politicians are for women’s rights.  When we find those politicians who share the same dictionary as we do, support them and speak up by voting for them in the next election.  Also, keep the dialogue of equality open as sometimes we forget that women’s issues come in many other topics not just equal pay.

 

50 years has gone by since John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, has it made a difference in women’s pay?  Well, if 77 cents is what women are worth, then I’d have to say the difference is 23.

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  1. Erik says:

    This is unacceptable to me. Any workplace which consistently pays women less should be boycotted until their business dries up.

  2. Chris M says:

    Fair is fair. That we are still dealing with equal pay issues in the 21st century is … it’s flabbergasting.

    Salaries are, at least in my experience, something we keep private and don’t discuss with our co-workers. So without complete transparency, which I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with — that could be a-whole-nother discussion! — I think it’s up to executives to monitor and enforce equality in there companies. If they’re not rooting out inequality, they’re tacitly approving it, and that’s just unacceptable. CEO’s, directors, managers … they need to hear it at work and in their private lives. They should be ashamed if they don’t know if whatever work unit they are responsible for is paying fairly, and they should be prosecuted if they know they’re not and not doing anything about it.

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