Kayman Pennsylvania

Gender Pay - Why the Gap?

Women and men should be treated equally and paid equally too.

Dear Future President,

To some, America is the ideal place for pursuing any dream. The place of “liberty and justice for all.” The nation where we pride ourselves in free speech and the choice to pursue whatever career we wish. But to many others, it is a world of inequality. It is a world where your choices are limited, and 45 million people, or 14.5% of Americans live under the poverty line. This country, the one that advocates equality, is one where a white women only make 80 cents out of every dollar a man does. Even more shocking would be the fact that a black woman only makes 63 cents and a Latino women only 55 cents out of a dollar. Does this country truly represent the ideals for which it was founded on? In order to make this country as true as the principles it’s based on, we first must establish gender equality.

When I broach this subject to some of my male friends, they laugh like it is a joke. “That doesn’t matter,” they say. “Gender equality isn’t a problem.” It infuriates me because gender equality affected, affects, or will affect every girl and woman not just in the USA, but in the whole world. We represent roughly half of the world's population. Some people only think women are there to have babies and take care of the house, but we are so much more than that. In fact, a higher percentage of women attend college than men. That means that a greater number of women have degrees than men. So, theoretically, they should have more jobs and more jobs higher up on the work pyramid. They should also then be paid the same as men. Are these statements true? No. There is a shocking pay gap between men and women, and an even greater difference between colored women and men. For me, this is a huge issue. My parents are divorced, so I live with only my mom. Soon, she will stop getting support checks, so it will be only her bringing in money as a paraprofessional and a babysitter to support us. This means she has to cover mortgage, car payment, insurance, healthcare, swimming payments, taxes, food, clothes, and day to day costs with just her income. As a woman, her pay is automatically lower than a man’s, which makes it harder to afford everything. Gender equality and equal pay would help millions of women, like my mom, all over America.

The truth is, many people are either uninformed, don’t care, or don’t see the issue of gender equality. As mentioned before, women are paid, at the highest, 80 cents for every dollar a man is. Women receive fewer job opportunities, and in 43 presidents, none have been a female leader for our country. Perhaps this year it will change and break gender barriers never thought to be breached. True, our status is changing, but there is still plenty of work to be done. A study done by World Policy Analysis Center states that “90 percent of countries still have laws and policies that give women and girls fewer rights and protection than boys.” This is because you can’t simply tell business owners that everyone now gets paid the same amount of money. They might not be able to afford it right away. Also, there is much discrimination and deeply set biases to break down. It is like breaking a dam. If you break the foundation and destroy it all at once, there will be an unstoppable force of water rushing at you. If you slowly break down the wall bit by bit, it will be a containable amount of water coming down. Slowly, this wall WILL be broken, and with you on our side, we can chip at it more efficiently and effectively than ever.

While gender equality and equal pay may not be the most pressing issue on your agenda, it certainly should be a priority to work on. There will always be discrimination in this world, but everything we can do to try and prevent it is worth it. All lives matter, after all, we are all human. The dam will begin to crumble, and with you, the soon-to-be president, supporting women’s rights, it will get us one step closer to achieving the true American dream.

So, future president, will you rise to the occasion and take action? If you are on our side, countless single moms will go to sleep knowing they can pay their expenses. Girls will grow up knowing that they can lead a brighter future than before. As earlier mentioned, we are about half of the world’s population. Do you want half the world to feel disrespected by your opinions, or appreciate you for helping us? Kindness always beats mudslinging, so I suggest you try out empathy and help our female population get the respect we deserve.

Sincerely,

Kayman H., Pennsylvania

Upper Perkiomen MS

ELA 8

Middle school students in a rural town from Pennsylvania share their thoughts about what matters most to them in the 2016 US Election.

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