She works hard for the money (so you better treat her right)
We’re in the 21st century in the land of the free, so you would think American society has come a long way from the days when women were only employed as secretaries, nurses and teachers.
But just yesterday, Aug. 1, a new Louisiana law went into effect that prohibits state agencies from paying unequal wages based on gender to their employees for the same job. The law goes into effect only two months after the 50-year anniversary of President John F. Kennedy signing the Equal Pay Act in order to abolish wage discrimination based on gender.
At first look, the workforce has come a long way in the past 50 years; that’s something no one can deny. Even in politics and the country’s Armed Forces, the ultimate boys’ clubs, women have been making incredible strides.
The issue of women in the workplace today is not so much about the “glass ceiling” – the idea that women and minorities are kept from rising to the top ranks – but that because of their reproductive organs, they are stalled by the “maternal wall.”
According to a June piece published through National Public Radio (NPR), many employers are hesitant to train or promote women of child-bearing age. Quoting University of California Hastings College of Law professor Joan Williams, the article claimed that employers believe a woman will ultimately spend less time or attention at work in favor of her children.
Younger women right out of college have more of an advantage because it is thought they will spend a few years working on a career rather than a family. A 2010 report from analytics firm Reach Advisors used Census Bureau numbers and found the medial salary of single, childless women under the age of 30 was eight percent higher than their male counterparts, mainly because more women are in college right now than men. However, as they age, marry, or contemplate motherhood, their opportunities drop.
Basically, the problems arise because bosses fear they will lose their ladies. According to American Association of University Women Research Director Catherine Hill, the mindset of many employers is, “Should I really spend the money to put this woman into a training program? She’s just going to leave me.”
But these days, women aren’t trying to run out the door early. A Pew Research Center study found that 40 percent of working mothers are breadwinners in their homes, with many of those women being single parents.
And in an age when being a stay-at-home parent is seldom an option for a man or woman, the average woman knows she has to help hold down the fort financially – and teach her children the value of a hard day’s work.
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