What Really and Truly Keeps Women Away from Pay Parity

Okay. I’m warning you. This post is not politically correct.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time reading student blog posts. I really enjoyed that and got a better idea of what they think and how they think.

The big surprise to me was reading about women being marginalized. Some of these female students feel oppressed because they are female. The evidence they give is the statistic about women earning less than men for the same job.

It may be true that women often earn less than men for the same job, otherwise why would 75%  of the recent job cuts go to men? They’re more expensive.

The answer though is not really men oppressing women, as least in the United States.

I thought that poor horse had been pummeled to death already.

Consider the examples of how the following women treat themselves. I’m not condemning them, I used to do similar things myself. But, the fact is, in 2010 women still do things like….

– Make the beds for their teen-age sons.

– Divorce an alcoholic husband and then move in with an alcoholic boyfriend.

– Work 60 hours a week when paid for 40 hours, “because that’s what it takes to get the job done.”

– Put gasoline in the BMW while teenage son watches, listening to his Ipod.

– Won’t allow the husband to change diapers for the twins because he doesn’t do it right.

– Fail to take care of their health because they’re “too busy.”

Are you gonna tell me that these women are marginalized? Or are they marginalizing themselves?

I used to subordinate my input into daily decisions to my husband’s wishes on a regular basis. Just one example, I never thought of the income I earned as “mine” and never spent much of it on myself. The thing is, then I resented hardly ever having new clothes and was perpetually waiting for permission to buy them.

Now, there is a nobility in service to others. But only when it comes from joy and strength, not when one’s self-worth depends on outside approval.

If you don’t deeply value yourself, how can you expect others to value you? What do you think about this?

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8 responses to “What Really and Truly Keeps Women Away from Pay Parity

  1. I think you have a very valid point Laura. I also think there is more to the story. It’s a complex issue.

    You are absolutely right though, women need to stand up for themselves first, not just because down the road they’d like equal pay, but because we are so worth it.

  2. Well, I think it’s spot on, Laura! And I am sooooo guilty. I clean Julian’s room and clean up after him in the kitchen, the bathroom, do his laundry, mainly because it’s just easier for me to do it than have a knock down drag out argument with him about doing it, then I’m not happy with the half-assed job he does. (For those that don’t know, Julian is my son.)

  3. Thanks for sharing, Sally and Lisa. My thinking on this topic really shifted a few years ago while attending a lecture at the girls’ school where I was teaching. This wise woman said that the machismo in that country would continue until mothers changed the way they brought up their sons. This is a complex issue, but I think it’s time to realize that continuing to label ourselves as marginalized is not the solution.

  4. Elizabeth Johnson

    Laura,
    Thank you for NOT being politically correct. You make excellent points in your blog. Every woman can learn from it.
    As a “recovering self marginalizer” , it’s always good to be reminded of these issues as not to fall back into bad old habits.
    I do think our culture still fully supports and expects women to put others first, and their own needs second. But, we as women, can help to change that very outdated attitude and can suppport each other.
    Excellent blog! Keep your blogs coming. Have you thought of a TV or radio show?

  5. An interesting related article in NYTimes that is worth a read: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/jobs/07preoccupations.html?ref=jobs

    It’s about stereotypes in the job place and women not wanting to be perceived as a “bitch” at work.

    To quote a portion:

    “One study from Carnegie Mellon and Harvard gave participants descriptions of men and women with equivalent qualifications who had applied for a fictitious job. When told that some candidates had tried to negotiate for a higher salary, the study participants — whether men or women — found fault at twice the rate with the women who negotiated than with the men who negotiated. Translation? Pushy women are less likely to be hired.
    So how do women stay strong and in control, given this narrower band of acceptable behavior? They can start by revamping their communication style, resisting the extremes of acting like a bull in a china shop or being as quiet as a mouse.

    When I suggest to women that they make communication adjustments, there’s often a huge pushback. “Why do we have to change? It’s not fair,” they tell me. And they are right. But as long as the stereotypes remain all-powerful and are perpetuated by men and women alike, it’s necessary to navigate them. “

  6. Thanks for the input and suggestions! Elizabeth, I am pursuing other ways of getting the message out– in essence “value yourself first.” I’m working on incorporating new things I’ve recently learned about women and money into my existing material to offer “Wealth Creation for Women Only” e-course to debut next month.

    Lisa: You’re right about the communication issue; I think each woman has to be clear about her value every day in every way. We want to support each other, not tear each other down as sometimes happens.

  7. I so totally agree! You have to take responsibility for your actions. Nobody is “victimizing” anyone here. I love what you say about people treat you the way YOU allow them to. I could go on and on about this…..Great blog. Keep it up!

  8. Yep, I agree….and I’m not so sure this is a complex subject, we have marginalized ourselves with cheapening our sexuality, in turn, our integrity, respect, and intelligence. Being feminine, smart, businesslike, AND bringing home the bacon can be done without burning our bras and showing our bras.

    Good post, Doc!

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