Cheating WomenApril 01, 2008
A short while ago I wrote a blog based on the heading of an MSNBC article, “Women Share Blame for Cheating Men.” As we approach April 22, Equal Pay Day, the word cheating keeps popping up, although the context is different. In this case cheating refers to the fact women still make 23 cents less than men do for the same job, even when they have the same experience and education and other similar factors are taken into account.
People often tell me it’s not the same today as it was when women burned their bras for equity — and that salaries for men and women are now the same! When I hear this from a man, I try to distinguish assumption from knowledge on his part and answer accordingly. When I hear this from a woman … well, actually I do the same thing in preparing my answer. However, I have to consciously stop myself from taking the soapbox approach of “you should know better” and keep focused on the need to educate all women about pay equity. It’s not easy.
I wasn’t old enough to be wearing a bra — let alone burning one — during those times, but that phrase seems to be etched in people’s minds (no matter their age) when it comes to equity issues for women in today’s environment. Although simply stating the facts doesn’t seem to garner the attention needed to overcome this wage discrepancy, knowing the facts is indeed critical. AAUW’s Pay Equity Resource Kit is a great beginning.
What actions could we take today that would have the same effect that burning bras did in the past? Can there be a rallying cry for equity that would cause immediate change? Long-term advocacy obviously works, as AAUW’s history and current activities can testify. But it’s 2008 and women are still being cheated. Any ideas?