The Real Pay Issue Women Should Worry About

Portrait of three businesswomen standing with a businessman holding a help wanted signboard
Portrait of three businesswomen standing with a businessman holding a help wanted signboard

The infamous "wage gap" has been a hot topic for years now. Women feel ripped off by putting on long hours, but getting way less pay than our male counterparts. Sure, it's infuriating when you find out that men make more than us doing the exact same job, but let's not forget where the problem lies. It's not a man's fault if he is offered more pay than we are, it is society's fault. More specifically, it's the employer's fault for practicing this behavior. In a perfect world, employers would have the same expectations for both men and women, but that's not going to happen anytime soon unless we do something about it.

In fact, it is even debatable whether or not the "wage gap" even exists. Sure, my boyfriend makes a heck of a lot more money than I do, but we have completely different jobs. I work hard at my corporate job, but it's nowhere near as much as he has to do at the coal mine. My boyfriend has over 10 years of experience, a degree, and he literally works so hard his boots wear out. I, on the other hand, work in a temperature controlled office where I sit at a computer for 8 hours, and get a lunch break every day. There's no doubt that we should be making different salaries, and it has nothing to do with gender.

The real issue for women is the importance that is put on our appearance. Men could probably show up to work for the third day in a row with no shower, and no one would blink an eye. So why is it that women are inclined to put a lot of work into our appearances in order to land a job? Instead of focusing on our skills and education, employers are possibly focused on how we look and dress. Isn't that the maddening part? Sure, many women like to get all dolled up, but that should have nothing to do with how much money we make. One study shows that the length of our hair have impacts on how much money we make - specifically, it shows that women with longer hair earns 13.5% more than their counterparts and are appreciated more by the customers and the supervisors- how crazy is that? It would be nice to think that all of our education, experience, and skills would be put to good use, instead of our hair, nails, or makeup.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there is a double standard almost everywhere we go. Men can be stern and raise their voice, and they get called a "go-getter," but if a woman does it she is told to smile and look pretty. I firmly believe that you should dress the part, and take pride in the way that you look. I think that the more polished and professional you look, the more respect you will get. Do I think that its right? Not necessarily, but I don't think it's wrong either. Taking a little time each morning to clean yourself up and look presentable is not hard for either men or women. I think as long as the same standards are held for men as women, especially in the same career field, it's understandable.

Nothing will change if we don't do something about it. All of the women's rights activists have gotten us where we are today- working outside of the home and voting. One day in the future, hopefully we will look back on this day in disbelief that our appearances impacted how much money we made. If we put a little less pressure on women to be kept together all of the time, we can focus on what really matters, like doing our jobs the best that we can.