April 7, 2014
As a rising senior in college I am often asked about if I intend to go into the work force or grad school after I graduate. I am worried about paying off my loans, finding a job, and figuring out generally how the heck I am going to survive out in the big bad world.
It’s no wonder that I’m concerned that as of 2013 women in the work force earned 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Even though the equal pay act was put into effect by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, and reinforced by the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the wage gap still exists. To celebrate us of how far we as a society have come and to remind us of how far we still need to go, there is a day called Equal Pay Day. This year it is on April 8, 2014.
In the last decade, the wage gap between white women and white men has stayed pretty much the same, while the gap between non-white women and men has probably grown, according to the National Women’s History Museum.
This sort of data makes me feel like I am already beaten. How am I supposed to live a life where I get up every morning to go to work when I know that I’m not making the same amount of money for the exact same work as a male counterpart? It’s disheartening.
I understand that there are sociological factors that come into play, such as the woman’s historical role of staying in the home, and, thus, not earning wages, but such a large wage gap is ridiculous in a time when men and women have been able to find a way to share almost every field of the workforce.
I suppose the solution is to go out there and be my own advocate when it comes to negotiating my wage, do my best, and never stop learning new skills. The purpose of this day is not to discourage anyone, but rather to make people aware of the issue that is still prevalent in our lives.
Written by Michaela Lies, writing intern at Three Rivers Community Foundation and student at Washington & Jefferson College.