Dear Future President,
Today equal pay for equal work is considered a far away fantasy for many women, and I consider this to be a disgrace; especially considering our country, the United of States of America, was founded on the principles of equality, liberty, and justice for all. I believe that until all women rightfully earn dollar for dollar what men make, this issue questions the very existence of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, the very same that you swore under oath to uphold and protect. Equal pay for equal work must be considered a human right in order for society to advance and prosper.
Wage discrimination results in women earning $0.77 for every dollar a man makes, and this number is even less if they are African American or Latina. Additionally, “forty percent of households today rely on mothers as the sole or primary source of income” (“Equal Pay”). While some may think that difference is small and insignificant, they are sadly mistaken. Lilly Ledbetter famously said, “what we lose cannot be measured by dollars” (PBSNewsHour). When we are deprived of twenty-three cents, every hour, every day, every year, over the course of a lifetime, what is stolen is not just money, we are robbed of what we could have done with it. That money could have helped pay for a child’s birthday presents, a mortgage, a car, college tuition, retirement, the list is endless.
The only explanation for the difference in pay is not that women are not as capable as men, but that “women are more likely to take time off from a career for the sake of starting a family. This is particularly pronounced among married women--most of whom prefer to trade potential salary for the flexibility to be more personally involved with their families...which is undoubtedly invaluable” (Cochran). Cochran's statement, that time spent with our families is priceless, is the only respectable part of his article, “There Is No Wage Gap.” What devoted mother would miss her child’s first words, their first steps, their first day of kindergarten?
In my family of three; my sister, myself, and my mother, there is only one pay check. There are many events that my mother has had to miss because she had to work: my preschool mothers day celebrations, my elementary school’s halloween parades, my track meets in middle and high school. Sadly, I know so many families have it much, much worse.
Many mothers across America have to make the choice between being a good mom, or being a good employee. I believe this needs to stop, and you, Mr/Mrs. President, are the person I deem responsible to help lead the way and set an example for other countries. A woman should not be disciplined by earning only $0.77 because they might someday have a baby. In a perfect world, understanding employers would allow balance and flexibility in a work schedule without a punishment on one’s pay. This would create a positive and enjoyable work environment, generating more productivity for the company. A healthy business, community, and economy is built on the foundation of its workers. “When women are bringing home the bacon, but bringing home less of it than men doing the some work, that weakens, families, it’s tough on our kids, it weakens the whole economy” (PBSNewsHour). The greatest asset to a company is its employees, isn’t it logical that they would want to invest in them?
Mr/Mrs. President, equal pay for equal work has been a topic covered by your campaign, and now that you are in the oval office, you have a choice; you can act upon your promises, or you can neglect them. The choice is yours. Will women ever be seen as equals in the workforce, or will we continue to be seventy-seven percent of a man?
A concerned student