Overlapping Worlds – Equal Pay Day Ruminations

Today is Equal Pay Day, which marks the day that women would need to work to (in addition to the full prior year) in order to earn the equivalent of their male counterparts’ income in the prior year. It’s both a well-documented reality, and a source of personal frustration to me and many women. And yet, upon reading this article, it was interesting to learn that acknowledging and addressing the pay gap is actually a partisan issue. I find this intriguing, because in my view equal pay between men and women for equal work is a no-brainer; it’s a matter of basic justice, which I had assumed would be an aim that all women would acknowledge and push for us to achieve.

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It brings to mind folks who are in open marriages (i.e., who seem ok with infidelity, something that would be painful and unacceptable to the vast majority of married folks); it brings to mind black Trump supporters that excuse and condone his racism; it brings to mind all the women who voted for a President who unequivocally bragged about engaging in sexual assault.

I’m sure I’m striking a chord with some of the items in the list above, and that’s not the intent – it’s just meant to emphasize how this (as with positions by some folks on other issues that seem equally counterintuitive to me) is just so baffling that – try as I might – I am just completely at a loss in how to see the other side.

So, I’ll just take a moment to explain why that is, and then welcome any insight as to what, exactly, I am missing on how the Republican women who aren’t on board with addressing the pay disparity see the world (and this issue in particular). It should be noted – not all Republican women, of course, are in this category (as reflected in the stats in the article linked above).

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I work in a male-dominated industry. Everyday, I see how the white male perspective is laced throughout (and controls) the entire system in which I function. They are the decision-makers; the industry revolves around them and welcomes them.  All of my white male colleagues, I might add, are kind, intelligent, hard-working, good men. So, this is certainly not a rant against any of them (or any males, for that matter). It’s just that – the fact is that it is indeed their world – and this should be addressed, together with all of the ramifications of that reality (one of which is the pay gap).

I also, until recently when my husband completed his master’s degree, was the sole source of income for our family. I am still the main source. I am not saying that I am personally paid less than my male counterparts, but I am saying that the notion that males have families (i.e., women and children) to provide for, and a female’s income is simply a supplement to her husband’s, is totally bogus (including in my personal experience). I work very, very hard to provide for my family. Other women and men who support their families do too. And, folks who aren’t the sole or main source of income for their families, or who don’t have families at all, work hard as well. We all – no matter our gender or family status – deserve to be compensated equally for our efforts. It’s really that simple.

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So, to the folks (in particular women) who don’t see the issue from this perspective, I’d invite you to share yours. As mentioned above, I’m really at a loss here, and would welcome some insight into the views and supporting rationale of the other side.

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As always, thanks for reading, and feel free to share any thoughts or reactions in the comments. xoxo

(Glass ceiling pictured is at Longwood Gardens.)