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A Gap Wider than Wage By Raina Kansagra

Blog post by Raina Kansagra describing the effects of the gender wage gap.

20 cents. Women make, on average, 80 cents to a man’s dollar.

While this is an issue on its own, there is much more that is being fought than just 20 cents. There is a preconceived notion. A double standard. An injustice.

Preconceived notions are the most dangerous form of misconception. Millenniums ago, men would hunt and women would gather. Centuries ago, men would act as leaders and fighters while women would act as wives and mothers. Decades ago, men had a vote and role in society and women had an expectation of a place in the house. Today, men have a dollar while women have 80 cents. A steady history of men doing the hard work while women were supposed to stay at home or do the easy tasks has developed the preconceived notion that women are inferior. Women can’t work as hard. Work as well. But, this could not be more false.

There have been countless women over the years who have challenged and defied this stereotype, but their efforts have clearly not been enough evidence that women deserve the same standards as men regarding social and professional expectations. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to graduate from an American medical school and in 1856, went on to open her own hospital and medical school to optimize opportunities for women in the medical world. Susan B. Anthony was a huge advocate for women’s suffrage and the abolition of slavery, and in 1920 after her death, the 19th amendment was coined the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment”. Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African-American female astronaut, and in 1992, the first African-American female in space. Benazir Bhutto, although tragically assassinated in 2007, was the first female prime minister in a Muslim country and created a lasting legacy of promoting democracy and the power of women everywhere.

The preconceived notion that women are inferior and incapable could not be more wrong, and these powerful women only scrape the surface of a rich history of women who only prove this stereotype and misconception false.

In this progressive nation, women have fortunately worked towards bridging the gap between them and men in society- women proudly and strongly vote, have a voice, hold the same positions as men, and are capable of just as much. The United States is a more forward nation in this sense compared to others, where women are still considered inferior and restrained by much different standards than men. The strength women are now “allowed” to have in society, and often even encouraged to have is inspiring and the way it should be, but there is a huge misalignment in this ideal. Women do the same work, carry the same burdens, and hold the same responsibilities as men, but women are not paid the same as men. This double standard is beyond toxic in the fight for gender equality and overall standards of fairness. Women are expected to be able to work as hard and do as much as men in society today, but are still not given the same pay.

It should not have to be explicitly stated to know that this is an injustice. An injustice is defined, quite simply, as “a lack of fairness”. The wage gap clearly reflects an immense lack of fairness, which then leads to the obvious conclusion that it is a great injustice. A lack of something means there is much needed room for more, so the battle for equal pay can have so much fairness added, and everyone is responsible for contributing to this effort. There are countless ways to make a difference and help crush this injustice, and anyone can and should participate. Encourage women to negotiate for fairer pay. Speak out against it; don’t be afraid to share opinions on this injustice. And most importantly, smash the patriarchy. Men are by no means above women in any way, shape, or form, so there is no reason for them to be exempt from contributing to the efforts to make women’s pay fair. No one is off the hook for the injustice between men and women’s pay.

20 cents. The gap between men and women’s wages is 20 cents wide. But between men and women, the gap is much wider than wage.

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