Today’s the day! You all know what I’m talking about. That day. That SUPER important day that affects absolutely everyone everywhere.
Happy Star Wars…wait.
Okay, I was just informed Star Wars Day is on May Fourth. Easy mistake. Could happen to anyone. So what’s so special about today?
Oh, it’s voting day in the United States? Nevermind.
Anyway, it is voting day, I will be voting directly after work, and as such I have spent some time this morning researching the candidates. Totally last minute, I know. But while I was looking things up, I came across this:
“Equal Pay is a family issue.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/equal-pay)
“Women…are a growing number of breadwinners in their families.”
And now I’m going to stop you for a second. Because that’s completely true. I come from a family where that has always been the case, especially since my father passed away. But no one ever says that the reason men make more money is because they have more to support. A man does not get a pay raise when he gets married or when his wife has a baby. He is paid solely based on how much work he puts in.
If it was based on how much money you had to spend to support yourself and your dependents, single women should make more than single men. Look at their expenses: pads and tampons, which are completely necessary. Birth control, which you might argue isn’t but that women are considered majorly responsible for. Even how expensive cosmetic products are, which are marketed towards women and highly encouraged by the culture we live in.
But we live in a capitalistic society, where money is exchanged for work. When women are paid less, you are literally telling them that their time is worth less.
I also feel the need to mention that race is a HUGE factor and the 77 cents on a dollar statistic that is often quoted is for the WHITE population. It’s even less when you get into people of color, which is also not okay.
So, yes, equal pay is a family issue, but like racism is a family issue in that it has been deeply ingrained in our culture and it will take the family to help stamp it out. In that it affects us all and not just those that are being discriminated against. In that one day I will have children and one day I will adopt children and I do not currently know what their genders and races will be and I am terrified to think they will not be treated fairly and as they deserve.
Which is why I do believe in affirmative action. Because centuries of institutionalized racism and sexism has left us with a low bar for “equal rights” and in order to bridge that gap, sometimes you have to force people and businesses to treat those oppressed people better.