It’s a sad reality that gender equality is still the cause for controversy in our society. A Utah news station covered the story of a young girl, Kari Schott, and the club she is in, the Young Democrats Club at Jordan High School, as they ran a bake sale to bring awareness to gender inequality. The group sold cookies and based on their statistics, for every one dollar a man makes, a woman will make seventy-seven cents hence why they sold cookies to the boys of Jordan High School for one dollar, and sold cookies to girls for seventy-seven cents. Students of varying genders and races were interviewed and asked how they felt about the initiative. Most agreed with the cause, but there were still some disagreements. Karri states, “on social media, on Facebook people got really mad, like they came up and talked to me. They were really mad about it. They didn’t think it was fair and I said yeah, it’s not fair. That’s why we’re doing it” (Carlisle). One student states in their interview that they simply believe the group’s statistics are incorrect. The bake sales raises awareness to gender inequality, which is definitely a good thing! It was interesting that the new station didn’t do any of their own research or provide any actual facts other than what was said by the students. Thank goodness for Google because with one quick Google search one can find that it is true; In the USA, woman make 78% of what men make (Hill). Another thing that was missing from this report was the pay gap for those who identify as transgender (when someone does not identify with their assigned biological sex) or gay (those who are attracted to others of the same sex). In researching this, you can find things like the fact that gay or bisexual men earn 10-29 percent less than heterosexual men, or that “the earnings of female transgender workers fell by nearly one-third following their gender transitions” (Burns). One last thing that this article still doesn’t touch on is the intersection of this with race. People of color who identify as female make only 68% of what white men make (Hill). Looking into the comments of this article we see why this is a systemic issue with comments like, “It is obvious that women are not as strong as men and therefore, cannot complete the same tasks.” This idea of emphasized femininity (the system of femininity set up and policed by patriarchal expectations) just reinforces the binary thinking of our society; binary thinking being the act of thinking of things as “black and white”, not considering there might be alternatives. It’s concerning to think that people still think this way, but that is the reality of this world. Woman are truly seen as lesser than men. I sometimes wonder how some of this came about, who decided one day that women are not equal to men? Probably the same person who decided black people are less important than white people. The social constructions we’ve come to accept in our society sound so absurd when said aloud but because a social construction is something you are raised to understand as simply “how the world works” it can be difficult to not accept these. The issue of the gender pay gap is one of many that effect woman in our society today. Karri and the Young Democrats Club are making a great step by bringing to light the inequalities that woman are forced to face every day. I hope that efforts like these continue seeing as some people still do not see where the issue is with the gender pay gap. It’s crazy for me to think that my single mother will, at this point in our society, never make as much as a man in the same position as her. How can socially constructed issues like this not seem blatantly wrong to those in charge? I guess it will take the generation of gender studies students to step into power for change to really begin.
- No Speak Africano
Work Cited Burns, Crosby. “The Gay and Transgender Wage Gap.” Center For American Progress. 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 9 Apr. 2015 <https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2012/04/16/11494/the-gay-and-transgender-wage-gap/>. Carlisle, Randall. “Gender Equality Bake Sale Causes Stir at Utah High School.” Good4Utah. 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 9 Apr. 2015. <http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale -causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q>. Hill, Catherine. “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2015).” AAUW: Empowering Women Since 1881. 3 Apr. 2014. Web. 9 Apr. 2015. <http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/>.