I Know Why Women Make .72 to a Man's Dollar
Women make on average .72 for every $1 a man makes.
Do I have your attention? Good.
The gender wage gap. Sexy topic, I know.
But what is it?
If a woman and a man have the same job, same skills, same degree, odds are very high that he will be getting paid more.
On average, for every dollar that a man is paid, a woman with the same skills and experience will be making between 72-83 cents.
Does that not seem ridiculous? You may be wondering why, and how, and why we as smart informed women have allowed this to happen, or not fought back?
It starts early. As girls we are told not to make waves, to be quiet, to take the smaller piece of pie so someone else can get the bigger one. We are told not to take up too much space. Not to be too loud. To be nice and kind and to smile on demand.
As moms we feed the family first, sitting down last and getting up first. We take the burnt piece of toast or a smaller portion, giving the better stuff to others. We wake up earlier and go to bed later and are perpetually sleep deprived because we are depleted from caring for others all day long. As wives we say please and thank our husbands for taking out the trash while we do 90% of the rest of things to take care of the house and family thanklessly. We allow them to say they are “babysitting” the children rather than holding them accountable to full co-parenting.
At work we sit in the back of the room so that the “important people” get the seat at the table. We’re the first to put away dishes or wipe up spills in the breakroom because we are conditioned to clean up after everyone. We’re told to speak up, but not too loudly or aggressively, in meetings and to do our best to amplify non-majority voices which sometimes means silencing our own.
And this is why we make .72 for every $1 a man makes….
We have been taught since birth to settle for less than. To take the scraps and be happy. To go along to get along. To pay ourselves last. We seem to lack the Enoughness to demand that we be treated and paid equally. We have learned to settle and are reminded what happens to women who don’t.
The women who dare to appear publicly in a man’s world, play their game with them, are called horrible, often dehumanizing things. If these women speak too loudly, laugh too hard, show any emotion other than being silent and stoic they are derided and demeaned and put back in their place.
I know because I’m one of those women. I’ve been in that position, in those meetings. My crime was being smart and expecting to play the same game with the same rules as the men. Which often went smoothly, until I bested them. Then I’m called a bitch or worse with comments that are usually sexually demeaning and designed to remind me I am just supposed to have a vagina and not a brain.
It’s exhausting and every day my Enoughness was challenged to the point I started to believe the toxic masculine messages that are planned to silence us.
But for some reason I’ve survived the bombarding of messages meant to humiliate and belittle me. I haven’t given up. I’ve cried in private then suited up for battle again and gone right back out to play a woman’s game in a man’s world.
I know I am more than Enough and when I hear the word “bitch” I insert “lucky bitch!” into my head instead to make it an affirmation of my success.
If we settle, they’ve won. You cannot allow yourself to be made less than. As women we have a strength in ourselves, a force in our emotions. Let your fire burn, let it be so bright that nobody questions when you give an order or share an idea. Believe me, it’s possible and it will happen.
This is why I don’t settle for making .72 for every $1 a man makes and neither should you.
Sources include: CNBC, National Women’s Law Center, and Center for American Progress