Dear Future President,
This past year I went on a retreat with the senior class of an all-girl’s high school. The retreat consisted of many different lectures, all offering advice through personal experiences. It was when, at the end of one speech, the speaker told all the girls that they were beautiful, more than a number on a scale, more than the grade at the top of their test, and in general-worth something. As I looked around the room, I saw nearly three hundred tears on three hundred faces, mine included. I wiped the pathetic tear off my cheek, as it began to sicken me. I hated that there were 300 intelligent, healthy, and unique girls sitting in a room batting wet eyelashes because hearing that they were simply worth something was so unusual in their somewhat privileged lives. If no one in that room of talented girls could fully understand their worth, then, quite frankly, I don’t know who can. Making every woman in the United States realize her full potential and worth would be nearly impossible. But rewarding women for their hard work in their career is definitely a start. The gender wage gap has narrowed significantly since the 1970’s after women’s right movements, but has slowed down since the early 2000’s. I am completely unable to understand the need for a general gender wage gap, seeing that equality is now a staple in the modern USA. I’m not sure how equality can be fully achieved in any category while the US is still listed as a patriarchy. According to the American Association of University Women, women on average earn 80% of what men make, doing the same job. But the wage gap goes beyond just simply making less money, it extends to education, as well. Education is empowerment, acquiring this education is sometimes expensive, so students-hungry to learn, ever so desperately take out student loans. Women with a college degree are unable to pay off the loans as fast as men which accumulates more debt. There is typically a $4,000 greater debt owed for women than men. Educating women is not the simple solution to this wage gap, with an advanced degree women still earn only 74% of what men make. Hard work and skill should earn a higher wage, not gender, race, or any other physical attribute. There are more than just three hundred girls in the US that don’t know how much their efforts are appreciated. There are more than just three hundred tears being shed because of this. Wipe those tears and close the gap.