Women don’t need me (or any other man) to defend them, as they are quite capable of doing so themselves. But they do deserve my support and that of all men in their long and ongoing effort to achieve equality when it comes to treatment in the workplace, today earning about 77 cents for every dollar a man earns for similar work.
Married to a top corporate executive with two daughters working in the education and government fields, I have witnessed first-hand the challenges each face in pursing their careers. Two events last week got me thinking once again about this issue. The first, was the celebration of Equal Pay Day (Apr. 12) which strives to increase awareness of the discrepancy between male and female wages. The second was attending the “Shine On: Celebrating Women Making a Difference” awards at Radio city Music Hall (Apr. 11).
Despite the emergence of women as keen, capable business leaders the latest info shows they still only make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns for a similar job. To quote the Department of Labor,
“While women hold nearly half of today’s jobs, and their earnings account for a significant portion of the household income that sustains the financial well-being of their families, they are still experiencing a gap in pay compared to men’s wages for similar work.” (Dept. of Labor, Equal Pay Day Toolkit)
Yes, progress has been made over the years, and certainly, there has been a fundamental change in the role of women in the workplace. While Stay at Home Moms (SAHM) remain a vital part of society wage equity has certainly lagged behind the realities of today’s workforce where men are not necessarily the family’s main wage-earner.
Congress as well has hampered equal pay progress by failing to pass HR:1519 The Paycheck Fairness Act in both 2009 and 2010 (although reintroduced last week with 168 congressional representative sponsors). Ironically, Congress itself is an equal-pay workplace, mandated to pay senators and representatives specific salaries regardless of gender. Of course, Congress also kept the Portrait Monument (left), dedicated to the pioneers of women’s suffrage Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, in the basement of the Capitol for 76 years before restoring it in the Rotunda in 1997, and even then said it’d only be there for one year (though obviously extended). Hmm…
On a brighter note, Good Housekeeping — a “main stream media” magazine publisher that has remained relevant for over 125 years — celebrated women making history with its Shine On awards. This year’s winners were:
- Christy Turlington Burns – For her work as an advocate via her Every Mother Counts
- The sOccket Girls – Four Harvard grad students for combining soccer with enlightenment
- Elizabeth Blackburn – Nobel prize-winning scientist whose work may unlock a cure for cancer
- Michelle Rhee – Controversial forward-thinking educator for her Students First organization
- Lisa Switkin – Urban planner of green space including the High Line park in NYC
- Indra Nooyi – Chairperson and CEO of Pepsico, Inc. also active in Water.org
Amazing people all, I was impressed with their intelligence, eloquence and passion to improve society.
Oh, and they just happen to be women.