Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Women Are Set Up For Inequality

The inequality of gender roles in our society really pushes my buttons.

According to the Institute for Women's Policy and Research, female full-time workers earn 21% less than Caucasian men. And the Center for American Progress reports that African American woman receives 36 cents less than her male counterpart; a Hispanic woman receives a drastic 46 cents less than her male counterpart. Those rates apply to employees with the same qualifications and in the same positions. The disparities are even greater in certain cities and locations. 

Not only do women bring in less income than men, but, typically, women are the ones who must leave work early or miss work for a sick child. I realize roles are evolving; however, most women I know are the ones who sacrifice the stability of their jobs when their child is ill. Currently, women are allowed to take unpaid maternity leave for up to 12 weeks. Most of my friends and coworkers utilize their precious vacation time for maternity leave first, so they have income. Others, who don't have vacation time to utilize, are left with 12 weeks of no income. Recently, members of Congress have presented bills to improve paid maternity leave, like the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, but these bills are being shot down quicker than they can be assembled. Enlightened companies who offer paid maternity leave do exist, but the majority of us do not work for these companies.

I find it irksome that a woman with a bachelor's degree can not support herself and her 3 children alone! I reluctantly understand that a bachelor's degree does not hold as much value as it once did, but this fact, coupled with income inequality for women, makes it difficult for women to support their families. What does this say about our society? Since when does a bachelor's degree hold such little value? A perfect example: I have a bachelor's degree and my husband has an associate's degree - he makes twice the income that I make!

The constant progression towards more advanced degrees and, in turn, larger student debt makes me fearful for my children's futures. Will they be able to support themselves and their children with just a bachelor's degree, or will they have to incur more debt to earn an advanced degree?

As a mother, it is my duty to prepare my children for successful futures. The best I can do is to teach my daughters to fight for what they want and teach my son to respect women and treat them as equals. Then perhaps the next generation will not be doomed to live in a society of inequality.

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