If it is ok with you that women earn 80 cents while her male colleague earns $1 then you might want to stop reading. If it upsets you and causes your blood to boil, then this is the place for you.
For one thing, the Equal Pay Act has been the law for 50 years and although it needs to be updated and strengthened. But think of it this way, for the entire working life of some women who are now at an age where they could retire, the Equal Pay Act has been in force and it is still not enforced.
It affects all women
Meryl Streep – yes that Meryl Streep, award-winning actress, amazing at accents, and one of the best supporters of women’s causes there is – has spoken about not realizing that she had to negotiate for herself.
It is hard to feel for someone where they earn millions for a few weeks work. But it is the point that matters. Where a man is paid 1500 times more than a woman is paid, there is something seriously wrong. Wrong with the numbers obviously, but also wrong with the backing philosophy.
When you get down to the lower end of the spectrum where the male salary for a job is only $24,000 but a woman earns less than $20K for the same work it cuts hard. Especially where she is a single parent.
Who is going to change it
This is one of those things where women have to make the change because it is not going to come from anywhere else. And certainly, women’s education is making the difference.
Since the current president took office, the level of public protest is unprecedented. Starting with women’s marches and also at a grassroots level, women are out there making the difference for women.
Education can be both formal and informal
Sources of learning come in many different ways. We all understand formal education and the messages girls receive. But informal education is of equal value.
Teen Vogue – a magazine with an obvious market – has the message loud and clear. Using role models like Jennifer Lawrence to illustrate the discrepancy and pointing out unequivocally that it is not acceptable to educate our next level of women leaders to start from a different premise than the one women who are older than 35 had.
But a societal change would help
In Sweden, there is a government effort to change the perception of work that traditionally falls to women more often than men. These are often caregiver roles, which have the bizarre effect of denigrating the female role while exaggerating the male role in the same situation. Consultants get paid the big bucks nurses don’t.
If you don’t believe it
Think for a moment about the tennis world. The paycheck is now equal, but to get there, women tennis players had to work hard and there is still a huge gender bias and we saw it in action at the American Open in 2018.