Letter to the editor: Gender inequality still present in the workforce

Letter to the editor: Gender inequality still present in the workforce


[quote]By Eliana Greenberg
Guest Writer
Graphic by Ana Bicolli [/quote]

Since World War II, women have been a part of the workforce. If it weren’t for the women who worked when their husbands were off fighting in the war, our country would not be where it is today. However, the male has always been paid more than the female. The only difference between a female cashier and a male cashier, is their gender. To this day, the woman earns 79 cents to the man’s dollar. That is a differential of 21 percent between genders. What’s the reasoning behind it? None. There needs to be a considerable change to the unfair pay between the sexes.

At my first job, I was paid less than my male co-workers for no apparent reason. I approached my manager after overhearing him speaking to a potential new employee during a job interview, when he said, “we’ll start you off at $9/hour.” At this time, I was making $8.50/hour. I worked hard, came in early for my shifts, never disrespected my bosses; I deserved to make $9/hour, I even deserved a raise. During the conversation with my manager, he said “just keep working, we’ll see.” I never got a raise. This was the first time I encountered this situation. Later, I found that another employee, also a male, who always came in late for his shifts, was earning $9/hour. I, again, approached him with the same question, “Why does he get paid more money when he isn’t deserving of it? I work ten times harder than he does.” My manager uttered the words, “That’s just the way it is.” Find the flaw.

Women work just as hard as men, yet we get paid less. It is beyond frustrating that this is still how the workforce runs today. In 2014, the ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings was 78.6% for full-time/year-round workers. Women averaged earnings of $39,621 in 2014, compared with $50,383 for men. That is an astounding gap of 21.4 percent, which is a considerable difference in percentage. Women’s pay has been continuously growing at a slow pace since 1960, yet sitting around and waiting until men and women reach the same pay equity is not the path we should take. Everyone should realize that the amount of work put into a job is what should be primarily considered when allowing wage to affect an individual. If society doesn’t act by trying to make a difference in pay equity now, statistics show that men and women won’t have equal pay for another 44 years, in 2059.

[polldaddy poll=9359273]

In Illinois alone, there is an $11,000 difference between the salary of a male and a female. In fact, location does matter. In Washington D.C. there is approximately a seven thousand dollar difference in salary, whereas in Louisiana there is a seventeen thousand dollar difference between the male and female salary. The reported salaries per state is appalling. Even within this unfair advantage of males with higher wages, women still are able to find success despite the limited opportunities available. Women are capable of pursuing any job a man can. Many people believe that women cannot fulfill all the job qualifications a man can due to the fact that women may become pregnant and go on maternity leave or are “too emotional” around a certain time of the month. This does not mean women are “weaker” than men. I’d argue that women are emotionally stronger, but I’m biased. With the right qualifications, a female should earn an equal wage to her male counterpart performing the same job responsibilities. The female might even be more qualified than the male, but she would still get paid less. Me, alongside all females in the workforce, would just like to say thank you to those who declared women should earn less than men.

There is no silver bullet to this issue. The only way to truly solve this, is to take action. We need to vocalize this issue and ask the one real question, what is the actual reason for difference in pay between genders? I don’t believe there is one honest reason for it. I would like to speak to the person who believes they have an answer. With the Presidential election coming up in November, there is a chance that our country’s next President will be a female. The President earns an annual salary of $400,000. If our next President is a woman, where she would be doing the same job with the same qualifications as our past male Presidents, would she get paid less? If so, I, along with every other female, would like to know why.