If you've been following me for at least the past 5 weeks, you may have noticed that I'm a newb to the fight for gender equality. I still have a great deal to learn and I look forward to doing so in order to help support the cause in the best way that I can. I am by no means an expert in the topic, but I do believe that with a strong sense of ethics, morality and empathy, one should have most of the traits necessary to understand and want gender equality. And ALL equality, for that matter.
In defining my passion for gender equity, it feels so powerful to expose my own blind spots about gender inequality and to feel so strongly about a cause. When I think and read about these issues and see your comments of support, it fires me up so hard I just want to kick myself in the nuts. But that would help no one.
And sometimes, I read comments that make me want to kick OTHER people in THEIR genitals. Oftentimes, because they're missing big points and focusing on irrelevant details in hopes that it'll support their opposing viewpoints. And frankly, it could be a futile effort to try and address these concerns because they probably mostly come from those people that are stuck in their own ways regardless.
I don't know that this will be helpful for those who would post "Howw yew a femist if yew gota dick idiot!!?" But I feel compelled. Maybe it's for the person that's a bit ambivalent, or that doesn't really understand the issues. Or maybe even as an "I got your back" to those who are already on board. Regardless, I feel compelled.
Instead of the genital jump kicks, I'll try to offer some thoughts instead. Tuesday was National Equal Pay Day and in looking through my post and other people's about it, I've seen some folks arguing that "women making 78 cents to a man's dollar is an outdated fact/false statistic/other irrelevant comment."
Let's be honest. We all KNOW that women make less than men (and minority women make even less than white women). In an imaginary world, even if the 78 cent statistic wasn't completely accurate, we still KNOW that there's a disparity. And disputing the *numbers* is akin to me telling you, "my neighbor takes down his pants and shits in my front yard every day." And you telling me, "actually, he doesn't sh*t in your yard on the weekends or National Holidays." The dude is still sh*tting in my mother-f**king yard. And if I went and sh*t on your garden gnome, I bet you'd get it.
And then there's any number of other arguments including that men are doing more work, getting higher levels of education in higher paying fields, don't take off for maternity leave, are generally more aggressive in their careers, or any number of other things that people might say to justify the wage gap. The problem with that is that in an enormous amount of cases, women are less likely to be given an equal shot at their careers as men are.
And it doesn't take statistics to prove this; young girls who show "executive leadership skills" are more likely to be chastised for this and called "bossy" than boys are. This starts very young and certainly doesn't help their chances of wanting to pursue leadership positions or be a strong force in the classroom (and later, in the workforce). The U.S.'s paid maternity leave policies are potentially the least helpful of any other developed nation, which does not help mothers #leanin to their careers. And with such small numbers of states and companies supporting paternity leave, it sure makes it hard for fathers to stay at home with their child and allow the mother to focus on her career if thats the path they choose.
Now I'm not saying that women shouldn't take time off from working to be with their newborns or that they shouldn't even be full time stay-at-home moms if they want to. What I'm saying is that we need to give women an equal *chance*, from the start of their lives, to pursue their careers aggressively and without hesitation.
By limiting girls and women with our own ignorant misconceptions, we are preventing them from having the greatest possible chance to succeed in their careers (and in life generally). This makes it less of a choice for women to pursue their careers and more of a societal, coercing "HINT HINT"ing that they shouldn't.
I don't believe that the wage gap in the U.S. is a result of a bunch of evil managers trying to screw women out of their full earnings, but I believe that it's a product of a society that doesn't give them a full shot and that often discourages them from even attempting a bold career path. We need to create a society where girls and women are getting the same encouragement and support to build their careers as the boys and men are. From the start.
That's just my #78cents.
#heforshe #nationalequalpayday #leanin #leanintogether