Dear Future President,
I’m writing to you because, honestly, I’m a little worried about my future. As a 15 year old girl, the gender pay gap concerns me greatly. I know I know I should be worrying about college or my current education, but all of this is over ruled by the thought of not having enough money to support my future family. This is a problem I feel should have been fixed back in 1963 when the Equal Pay Act was passed, yet, women continue to earn 21% of what men earn. So tell me, when will this problem actually be solved?
As a country that prides itself on the whole “All men are created Equal…” thing, we haven’t really lived up to that. Discrimination is still alive and well in The United States of America. Racism, sexism, homophobia all still impacts American citizens. While all of these issues are close to my heart, the pay gap still affects me the most. I want to be able to know that, with or without a man by my side, I ,and every other girl, can be financially secure in my future.
Sixty percent of the pay gap is caused by discrimination. Some people may still hold on to the age-old belief that women cannot and should not be able to do the same jobs as men. The Employer cannot deny an able woman a job, so what happens? They lower their salaries. Employers have the power to forbid any employees from discussing their salaries, so many women may not even know that they are being underpaid. But it’s not only discrimination of the sexes, but of race and age.
Let’s start with race. Compared to white males, an African American woman makes about 60 cents to every dollar the man earns. Latinas and Hawaiian/ Pacific Islanders earn between 55-62 cents for a man’s dollar. Now for age, I know you may think that the older a woman gets, the more experience she has and the more money she will earn. Well so did I… but that’s definitely not the case. Full time female workers from ages 15-24 usually earn about 84 cents to every dollar their male coworkers would make. Women aged 45-64 make around 73 cents to male coworkers dollar, and the gap only gets bigger with age, for 64 and up, only make 67 cents.
Through all of the fear and discrimination, there has been light. Starting with the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women have been able to get more equal representation in the workforce and through their wages. Women are no longer seen as just a pretty face or a houseworker. We, as a country, have come so far in fixing this issue and it hurts me to think of settling for “close enough” when so many families and people can be affected. Imagine little girls being able to live out a dream. While they may not be able to be a fulltime, unicorn princess from Neverland, they can fulfill a dream of being a successful woman; able to not worry about having enough money for food after paying taxes, or selling her car so she can feed her kids. She would earn the same amount of money as a man and would be financially secure, maybe be able to afford a vacation here and there.
So, Future President of the United States of America, can you fix this problem? Make it so that all employees are paid the same amount of money? Regardless of race, gender, or age? I’m asking you as a child who just wants a little bit of closure and security that I will be able to attend law school and pay all of my student loans, while being able to eat more than one cup of ramen noodles a day. Right now, I do not have the power to stop the problem, but maybe one day, I will be working with you, to pass a law that states that every employee, regardless of age, race, gender, or anything, earn the same amount of money.