Natascha BuehnerkemperEng 102-01312 October 2004 Essay #2 Bridging the Gap for Women's Wages "Somehow, the unsex y issue of the paycheck-equal pay for the same or equivalent work-dropped off the economic agenda. But it never left the minds of women" (41). In her article entitled "A New Campaign for Pay Equity", liberal columnist Ellen Goodman outlines the problem concerning the wage gap between men and women. By describing the present position of the wage gap, Goodman points out that there are things being done by the government for the wage gap, which include enforcing the laws that are in existence and suggesting that jobs of equal value be paid equal wages. Goodman then states that, even though laws are in place and goals have been announced, there is still a considerable slack in the government's progress. She holds that the laws are not being enforced as well as they could be and that society needs to transform the way it views the value of women's work, or just work in general.
'Underlying the new campaign for pay equity,' Goodman emphasizes, 'are attitudes that are changing faster than wages' (41). Here, she suggests that people are beginning to ponder why women's wages are lower. Goodman explains that in order for the issue to be solved, the changes will have to begin on a state level and move up to the national level as momentum and support are gained. Goodman concludes with an astounding statistic: Because of the gender gap, women's families lose $200 billion each year. This statistic helps Goodman enforce the idea that although there are improvements afoot, ' [... ] half a cent a year just won't cut it".
I can honestly say that the first time or two I read the essay, I found it hard to formulate an opinion on the topic covered. At first, I thought that maybe Goodman was victimizing women and just complaining. But the more the class delved into the topic, the more I saw that it was truly a problem in our society. My mother has worked in the same printing factory for more than twenty years. She started at the age of eighteen, at the lowest position possible and has worked her way up to becoming the second-most powerful person in the plant.
Her title is Production Supervisor and she is the only woman supervisor in the company. In fact, there are only a small number of women that are not working as temporary employees in her company. I'm sure that my mother has had to deal with quite a few types of gender discrimination, the wage gap included and possibly being a large issue. The main reason in my bringing up this point is that my mother works hard, probably harder than 95% of people in her company and deserves to be paid accordingly, as well as do the huge number of women around the country who do great work for less pay. It seems like it should be obvious that all people in the same profession be paid the equally, and honestly, until I read this article, I was under the impression that that was the case. I hadn't even known about the fact that women were paid less by a huge amount.
That could either say something about me or, more importantly, say something about how little the issue is really known. I honestly don't even understand why it's even an issue. To me, it just seems like the natural, obvious thing to do. I suppose I would have to investigate even deeper to find out what the big deal is. Ellen Goodman's article does a wonderful job of outlining the current (as of 1999) issue of the gender wage gap. I must say that I personally agree with the fact that the issue is one that needs to be looked at by more people and more closely by those who are already aware.
I think if more people became aware of the problem of the wage gap it could possibly become less of a problem.