Gender discrimination in workplace still real

Did you know that on average working women make 78 cents to every man’s dollar? In some cases, women who make less are not doing their job or have chosen not to get a degree. I am not talking about those women who have decided to be stay-at-home mothers (though that is a full time job with no real breaks). I am referring to women who have the same education, same experience, and do the same exact job as men in their company and still are affected by a gap in pay.

I know that some people may argue that because so many women choose to be housewives or have husbands who support them financially, this gap is somehow justified. For example, I am picking apples or working in a factory for 12 hours a day, working as hard as my male co-workers, and they make more because I happen to be married. That still isn’t fair. The same amount of work should yield the same earnings.

You might think that this is something that happened in the 1950s and has improved, however, Lilly Ledbetter, who was at Tech Tuesday night, spoke about her battle with the wage gap at Goodyear. She held the exact same position as three of her male co-workers and was paid as much as 40 percent less than what they were earning.

Goodyear employees were not allowed to discuss their salary with each other, so she worked for nearly 20 years at the same job for significantly less pay. She had the same credentials and even won an award for her efficiency one year, so her performance was not the issue. This is the 21st century, and this is still happening in the United States, and it is unacceptable.

According to Ledbetter, if women and men were paid equally, we wouldn’t need a stimulus package. Money would circulate in the economy faster, and it would impact the United States in a positive way. I am not sure if I agree with her 100 percent, but I know it’d make life easier for families with single moms.

More women are single parents than men and deserve to make as much as their male counterparts.

Some women may outlive their husbands. If the woman is the only worker in her household, how will she raise her children on poor wages?

The role of caretaker in the home isn’t always the mother these days. There are an increasing number of stay-at-home fathers and more talk of parents hiring “mannies” or male nannies.

I think the fact that men are now becoming caretakers for children more and more shows that traditional gender roles shouldn’t affect workers pay when their lifestyles are not all cookie-cutter copies of women in aprons and men in business suits.

In the corporate world, many employers don’t prefer to hire women because they may want to start a family, and companies don’t like paying for maternity leave.

I understand that it is an expense for the company, but that doesn’t mean she should be paid less to make up for those weeks missed for having a child or that she shouldn’t be hired.

I strongly believe that men and women should both have paid time off when they become parents. Maybe the father doesn’t need to recover physically like the mother, but bonding time with a new baby shouldn’t be a privilege.

Of course, men would still return to work faster than women, but I think a lot of companies also assume that women will want off more time for her children’s soccer games or piano recitals. This still doesn’t make it okay to underpay or exclude women from job opportunities.

This is not to say that all work places discriminate against women or minorities, but many still do, and people don’t really think about it.

Just because some women lend themselves to this kind of discrimination by choosing not to work or by not utilizing their education doesn’t mean that women and men shouldn’t be paid equally for the same job.

If a woman doesn’t educate herself or work hard, then she deserves to be paid less than someone who is doing their job and works hard. However, there are still cases here in America where men and women work the same amount of time at a company and do the same quality of work and are still paid unequally. If she has the same work ethic and drive, she should have the same paycheck.