Monday, April 30, 2012

The Gender Pay Gap- A Sham?

In my sociology class right now we are learning about the “gender pay gap” in the workplace. I know we talked about this in class a bit, and I found some really interesting and thought provoking ideas from class and online that I wanted to share. There are many different arguments on this subject as it goes against equality of genders; a lot of people do not want to say this doesn’t exist because they are afraid of being “sexist.” I have, however, found that there are strong reasons for this gap besides discrimination.

Most women, when looking for a career, have the idea of “starting a family” in their head as well. They want a job that will allow for flexible hours, benefits, and less education time in order to spend more time raising their kids. Men, on the other hand, feel the need to provide for their families and tend to take more high risk, long hours, high paying jobs. Although this is a “stereotypical” way of looking at families, men making the money and women raising the kids, it is still very prevalent in America.

In my family, my dad was definitely always the “bread-winner,” while my mom stayed home to be the nurturer and instructor. I know that in picking a career for my future, I absolutely had my family in mind. It’s not that I want to sacrifice my education and opportunities for a job that is “below” me, I just firmly believe in raising my own kids and not sending them to day care for someone else to do it. I, personally, can say that I would choose a lesser-paying job if it meant better hours and more time with my family.

I think a lot of women put their need to be a “mommy” over the satisfaction of having a large pay check. I am not dissing my sex for this in any way, but think of it as a choice we have consciously made for our futures. I do, however, believe that we do not have the right to complain about a gender pay gap if the reason for this gap is our own doing. (I know that in some studies where a woman and man are both interviewed and the woman is offered less for the same job, there are reasons to be upset, but I am simply talking about the AVERAGE pay gap that feminists freak out about).

I found this article online about the "8 Reasons Why the Gender Gap is a Total Sham".There is a lot of it that I agree with, but also they don’t seem very understanding of why people are getting upset. They are just accusing women who want equal rights of being ignorant complainers.

Although I believe to a rather great extent much of what this article says, there is definitely a part of me that cringes at the thought of a woman being turned down for a position (or being paid less) simply because of her gender. This should never be the case, as equality should be guaranteed now in the 21st century. When discussing the same jobs and unequal pay, I agree with the feminists who argue for chopping the gap because it truly should not exist. However, when we look at the average pay for American men and women, it gets much iffier and harder for me to judge, as even I am choosing a job that puts my desire for a family over a successful career.

7 comments:

  1. One of the things that the article you posted misses, or fails to acknowledge, is that men on average make more money than women when they hold the same position or occupation. Male teachers for instance, make more money off the bat than female teachers, giving them a higher salary based on gender alone.
    Another issue is that the article failed to include the whole issue of maternity leave. Many women who take maternity leave are not compensated for the time that they do not spend at work (the United States doesn't have a national program that sponsors maternity leave) and therefore, make less money than men for the time that they have to spend outside of work. There are many high end companies that refuse to hire mothers, or women who are interested in motherhood because they do not have to worry about maternity leave and negotiating pay during that time. This system is unfair towards women, and leaves them with lower end jobs than they deserve in some cases. Sure, women want to have children, but if they don't, who will? It is unfair to pay them less, or not compensate them for the time that is spent outside of work during maternity leave because women deserve job security and high salaries as much so as men do.
    I agree that many women put their "mommy" need over their professional needs as you put it, but that doesn't mean they should be discriminated against at work for it, and it doesn't mean that we shouldn't have s system that supports women during their leave. In other countries, there is maternity leave sponsored by the government, and even men are offered paternity leave to help take care of their children. Women shouldn't be to blame for having children, it is the system that devalues women who are or who want to be mothers.

    Here is an interesting article to look at that speaks to the points that I am making:
    http://www.neiu.edu/~circill/F7587X.pdf

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  3. Does anyone else see a problem with getting paid for NOT working? It just doesn't make sense to me. Why should a company continue to pay someone when that person is not giving the company any labor whatsoever. Because they've worked there for so long? Because the pay is like a promise to come back and continue working? Because the company is personally invested in this child, and wants to make sure it is raised well? Neither of these possibilities seems reasonable to me. Why don't we just get rid of paid maternity leaves altogether? They're not logical, and they're completely unfair. Is it right for someone working hard every day to get paid the same as a pregnant woman sitting at home? True, childbirth is very labor-intensive (no pun intended), as is child-rearing, but those are personal labors. Like the separation of church and state, we should separate the personal lives of employees from their professional lives. I agree that giving a woman time off to care for a child, or even a mother time off to say goodbye to her son before he goes off to serve overseas are great acts of sympathy, but to pay them during this time is going too far. Regardless of gender or reasoning, we should abolish ALL paid leave!

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  4. I find the last comment intriguing. I'm not sure if I agree with that or not but it is a very interesting idea. Mostly if there is a maternity leave and not a Paternity leave. Wouldn't that then promote stereotypes that women take care of new babies and fathers have to stay at the office instead of spending time with their new child.
    Opposite of the stereotype, my dad was stay at home and my mom worked to bring home the greater portion of our family's income. However, this wasn't really because of ultra progressive ideals or anything. He was a farmer where as my mom did work in business and marketing. My dad was going to be around the house anyways so it made sense for him to be there when we came home from school.

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  5. The trade off between family time and a better paying job is a iffy subject. But there is a point where paying a woman less for family reasons is somewhat ridiculous. Suppose a woman with young children was elected president. I know it's extremely hypothetical, but just suppose it was true. I don't think that paying her less money because she is a woman and has young children to raise would be fair in anyone's mind. Going further, some women don't choose to be mothers, and the gender gap still exists for them. They don't have to deal with the tradeoff, although they still can. The gender gap doesn't exist because of motherhood, it exist because we still see women as quasi-second class citizens. Same reason that women didn't get the right to vote until 90 years ago.
    I feel that Alex makes a great point about paternity leave. If we can introduce that to America, it would first help fathers who really want to be with their children. Second, it would help start to bring down the idea that the mother is the nurturer, but at the same time dependent, while the father is the bread-winner, but at the same time the passing parent.

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  6. All of the previous comments bring up interesting points in this argument. However, my opinion consists most of what maddenfan2013 said. If a woman and a man get hired to do the exact same job, then they should be paid identically, no questions asked. There is just no logic behind paying somebody differently if they have had the same amount/type of training and put forth the same hours/effort. In addition, I am supportive of the idea of paternity leave. Paternity leave advocates the concept that both women and men can be the caregiver, or further, co-caregivers. Yes, most women keep in mind how their jobs will impact their quality time with their children, but don't men have this on their minds too? My brother-in-law works as a firefighter in a city two hours away from his home but is currently working to try and achieve a position as chief due to the higher pay, but also the less hours away from home. He will get the best of both worlds: financial security and quality time with his children. Why can't having a hard-working job and taking care of children go hand-in-hand, instead of this "one or the other" deal?

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  7. letter to the editor:

    it's MADNESS, i tell you! MADNESS!!

    as stated on www.thelessergender.com, every woman is subjugating herself by accepting a spouse or a significant other who is a man and who is superior to her in height. everywhere i look, it's tall man/short vagina. i don't understand how vaginas everywhere could not be ashamed of themselves, proclaiming gender-equality while adding insult to inferiority by publicly proclaiming their lesser states-of-being with each and every date-night that they partake in.

    ALL WOMEN MUST DATE SHORTER MEN, STARTING TODAY!!!! DO IT FOR FEMINISM, DO IT FOR PRIDE, DO IT FOR KIRSTEN FIKE AND EVERY OTHER COAST-GUARD VAGINA WHO DIES OF HEAT-EXHAUTION ON THE JOB. DO IT FOR YEARDLEY LOVE, WHO WAS NOT WOMAN ENOUGH TO FIGHT OFF HER BOYFRIEND AND WHO WAS KILLED WITH HIS BARE HANDS..

    heck, do it for the memory of all "strong women" who were murdered not by a weapon but by a strong(er) man.

    first came gender-based sporting events to keep the vaginas from competing with men (and from being a detriment to the team). then came gender-based requirements for acceptance into both the military and the police-force (making these forces look more like farces, where masculine competency is sacrificed for the politically-correct inclusion of members of the shorter/smaller/weaker gender whose physical competency pales in comparison to that of men). for crying out loud, coney island went and added a "womens' division" to their frankfurter-eating competition so that there could be such a thing as a female champion. AND, on top of everything else, there's the "do it HERself" workshop at the home depot (which, like "curves fitness," serves as a "mister rogers" type of "land of make believe" and caters to vaginas who are either too intimidated or too pious to function around a superior gender...ahem, make that "unjustifiably pious," just because there is no reason for feminists to feel that their gender can trump anything but a defenseless baby's head).

    as a way to battle the meek public-image of women that the aforementioned physical competitions contribute to, please IMPLORE all women to STOP LOOKING UP TO THEIR DATES. society must STOP seeing a man with a vagina on his arm if the man is taller than the vagina. women must be the tall ones in the relationship - if society got used to the concept of "short man/tall woman," then the concept of "the lesser gender" would not necessarily signify the female gender. granted, mens' broad shoulders would still point to a the existence of a stronger gender (as would their superior biceps, v-shaped backs, ripped chests and thick legs), but if every vagina would only date men who are shorter...well, i truly believe that the whole "masculine superiority" thing would slowly fade away.

    mr. dylan terreri, i
    dr. sheldon cooper, ii
    miss abingdon blazavich
    www.abbyblazavich.com
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    "When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it." - Madonna
    www.jaggedlittledyl.com/essays
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